French-bred leeches to be marketed in US

29th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, June 29 (AFP) - The US Food and Drug Administration has said it has approved a request by French firm Ricarimpex SAS to market medicinal leeches in the United States as a medical device for the treatment of skin grafts and blocked veins.

WASHINGTON, June 29 (AFP) - The US Food and Drug Administration has said it has approved a request by French firm Ricarimpex SAS to market medicinal leeches in the United States as a medical device for the treatment of skin grafts and blocked veins.

The company, the first to request FDA clearance for the use of leeches, has been breeding the creatures for 150 years "in a certified facility that tracks each lot," the FDA said Monday in a statement.

Medicinal leeches are bloodsucking aquatic worms that live in fresh water. They have been used as an alternative treatment to blood-letting and amputation for several thousand years.

They are now used to help heal skin grafts and restore blood circulation in blocked veins by removing pooled blood, and in reattachment surgery for amputations.

"FDA determined that leeches are medical devices," because they are "intended to diagnose, cure, treat, prevent, or mitigate a disease or condition, or to affect a function or structure of the body, that does not achieve its primary effect through a chemical action, and is not metabolized," the administration said.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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