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PARIS, Sept 23 (Reuters) - French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA) has recalled remaining batches of contaminated blood thinner Lovenox, a heparin, which were distributed before May 2008, French drug regulator Afssaps said.
Earlier this year, high levels of contamination with an oversulphated chondroitin sulphate in different types of heparin -- derived from pig intestines and used to prevent and treat blood clots -- were linked with serious side effects and deaths.
No such side effects were observed with Sanofi's Lovenox and the European Medicines Agency said in June doctors in Europe could continue to use the drug despite low levels of contamination found in some batches of the product.
"In agreement with Afssaps, the withdrawal was undertaken by Sanofi-Aventis on Sept. 16," the Afssaps said in a statement.
Lovenox is Sanofi's top-selling drug, with sales last year of 2.6 billion euros.
In the United States, tainted heparin from China was used by at least 81 patients who died soon afterwards. (Reporting by Caroline Jacobs; Editing by Quentin Bryar)