Archive for the ‘leukemia’ Category

China: Tainted Drugs Remain Threat to Life

January 31, 2008
January 31, 2008
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BEIJING — A huge state-owned Chinese pharmaceutical company that exports to dozens of countries, including the United States, is at the center of a nationwide drug scandal after nearly 200 Chinese cancer patients were paralyzed or otherwise harmed last summer by contaminated leukemia drugs.
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Chinese drug regulators have accused the manufacturer of the tainted drugs of a cover-up and have closed the factory that produced them. In December, China’s Food and Drug Administration said that the Shanghai police had begun a criminal investigation and that two officials, including the head of the plant, had been detained.Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/31/world/asia/31pharma.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin 
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China Claiming “Major Advances” in U.S. Relationship

September 20, 2007

By John E. Carey
The Washington Times
September 20, 2007

On Saturday, September 15, the official communist news agencies in China were buzzing with news of a new “White Paper” from China’s government stating that China and the U.S. were having a wonderful year of comity and togetherness.

According to China’s Foreign Ministry, the relationship between China and the United States has been stable in the past year, with some “major” advances.

The next day, two newspaper items caught the eye.

The first headline is rather self explanatory: “China recalls leukemia drugs in safety scare.”

The headline “Quality control urgency” brought readers to a commentary in the Washington Times by Herbert Klein. The essay begins, “Toys, toothpaste and pet foods are only a small part of the U.S.-China trade. But the angry public reaction to the sale of contaminated products demands priority attention from both nations.”

Hardly the stuff of a smoothly sailing international relationship.

The relationship between China and the U.S. is complex and multi-faceted, certainly. But to allow the communist government and their state controlled media to distort the facts unanswered is unconscionable.

China views the world this way, according to an amassed pile of Chinese Foreign Ministry press releases and state controlled media stories during the past year:

–despite several food, toy and other product safety scandals this year, more than 90% of China’s products are safe and China continues to strive for product safety perfection.

–while the West questions China’s intent as it expands and modernizes its military, China only seeks better self defense and no nation should be alarmed.

–critics say China has a pollution problem but China is a developing nation exempt from the Kyoto treaty and other measures and China is working very hard to lesson pollution everywhere.

The facts in all these issues may be debatable. But in the view of many China watchers, international diplomats and international organizations including the United Nations, the counter arguments to China’s Foreign Ministry and state controlled media look like this:

On food and product safety, the central government in Beijing has little control over a vast and far-flung array of farms, factories, entrepreneurs, middlemen and vendors.

According to Les Lothringer, a China expert based in Shanghai who has done business in China for many years, “It is quite impossible for any Chinese official to guarantee anything in China because of the lack of control that the government has and the lack of standards we take for granted in the West.”

On the issue of China’s military build-up, China has embarked on a huge military build-up. But nobody knows how much China is spending on defense, and procurement projects are shrouded in secrecy.

Since late last year, a Chinese ship-attack submarine surfaced within sight of a U.S. aircraft carrier before being detected for the first time in history, China demonstrated an anti-satellite missile capability the first time in history, and China has continued to verbally bully Taiwan.

During this last summer, both Prime Minister John Howard of Australia and a Defense Ministry “White Paper” from Japan voiced concern about China’s defense matters.

In Australia, Mr. Howard said, “The pace and scope of its military modernization, particularly the development of new and disruptive capabilities such as the anti-satellite missile, could create misunderstandings and instability in the region.”

Japan’s paper on defense said, “There are fears about the lack of transparency concerning China’s military strength. In January this year China used ballistic missile technology to destroy one of its own satellites. There was insufficient explanation from China, sparking concern in Japan and other countries about safety in space as well as the security aspects.”

With regard to pollution, China has the worst pollution of every kind in the world.

“I wouldn’t expect a world record in the marathon in Beijing [the Beijing Olympics, Summer Games 2008],” says Marco Cardinale, a doctor who advises the British Olympic Committee. “The issue isn’t just air quality, but the combination of heat, humidity and bad air.”

Michael Mueller, a German environment ministry official said that the Chinese delegates to a U.N. environmental meeting had been “masters of deception and the art of interpretation.”

”It is a very awkward situation for the country because our greatest achievement is also our biggest burden,” says Wang Jinnan, one of China’s leading environmental researchers. ”There is pressure for change, but many people refuse to accept that we need a new approach so soon.”

China lowered its energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by just 1.2 percent last year — against a goal of four percent — while pollution emission levels actually rose by two percent.

And meanwhile, China continues to build coal-fired power plants at a rate of more than one a week.Finally, in another example of Beijing’s lack of effective central control, U.N. inspectors found that factory managers not closely situated near Beijing generally took the attitude of, “We’ll use coal, produce more products and ignore Beijing as long as we continue to increase profits.” Beijing has told the U.N. it can significantly reduce pollution.

These differences between China’s view of itself and the views provided by less biased observers doesn’t even mention the vast gulf between China and international groups like Human Rights Watch on the issue of rampant human rights abuses in China.

In short, China is boasting of its wonderful relationship with the U.S. during this past year including some “major” advances. The U.S. should clearly set the record straight.

Mr. Carey is former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc. and a frequent contributor to the Washington Times.

China’s “Drug Abuse” Problem: Below Standard Pharmaceuticals Have Been Deadly

July 8, 2007

(See the very learned comment at the end of this text)

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
July 8, 2007

China announced today that is had halted sales of Chinese-made methotrexate, a key drug in fighting leukemia. Xinhua news agency reported that children injected with the drug sometimes felt so much pain that they were unable to walk.

In reporting that sales of methotrexate had been suspended, China’s regulators of drugs and pharmaceuticals reiterated that over the course of the last year, the manufacturer of a drug responsible for at least 11 deaths had been put out of business and four other companies were permanently suspended from doing business. At least 128 companies had their Good Manufacturing Practice certificates revoked, but they can apply for re-inspection and resume drug production if they meet national standard.

In Panama, 83 people died last year after taking medicines contaminated with a Chinese-made toxin according to a senior Panama prosecutor who spoke to us on Thursday.

China’s quality-control systems coving nearly all products from soy sauce to heart medication has been seriously called into question if not destroyed in the near-term. At first, investigators thought the unsafe and poorly made products were all shipped overseas. Now it is clear that China’s domestic products are tainted as well.

All this as China’s senior government official for drug registrations received a suspended death sentence on Friday last week for taking bribes to approve medications, some of which did not meet standards.

A Beijing court said Cao Wenzhuang was guilty of accepting 2.4 million yuan (315,000 dollars) while heading up the drug registration division of the state food and drug administration.  In China, suspended death sentences are often commuted to life in prison.

Over the course of the last four years, there have been several indications of problems in food and drug manufacturing and testing.  But this became a crisis earlier this year when investigators in the United States began to look into a large number of dogas and cats falling ill and many dying.

The pet illness epidenic was traced to Chinese-made pet food laced with a fertilizer component named melamine. Companies in China had illegally added melamine to wheat gluten and rice protein in a bid to meet the contractual demand for the amount of protein in the pet food products.

The melamine is much cheeper than meat.  So Chinese manufacturers were able to cut manufacturing costs while still charging top dollar for their products.

Subsequently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began testing all foods and products with the potential for oral ingestion like toothpaste.  Now all seafood from China is banned from sale in the U.S. and many products such as toothpaste, if proven manufactured from China, have to be removed from shelves and returned to the point of entry or destroyed.

The cutting of corners and use of substandard or dangerous ingredients seems to have been across the board in China.  Even children’s candy and other treats have been found to be contaminated.

More as it becomes available…..
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WE GOT SEVERAL E-MAIL ON THIS ESSAY! HERE IS THE ONE MOST INCLUSIVE:Re: China’s “Drug Abuse” Problem: Below Standard Pharmaceuticals Have Been DeadlyAn interesting article, John, but one where you have it completely back to front.  The problem is in the United States and, more generally, the West; not here in China.

Chinese people are notoriously suspicious of products and brands and have been for a very long time. 

“Downgauging” or corner cutting to reduce product costs is very common and everyone knows it, except apparently uninformed American industrialists who naively rush to China themselves to reduce costs, with no regard to the consequences – all entirly foreseeable.

Clearly, faulty manufacture here will result in litigation in the US, but no possibility of claims against Chinese counter-parties.  They don’t care.  They just want to make money.  Further, the legal system here could not be more different.

The American Chamber of Commerce is part of the problem too in their opposition to Chinese wage increases here and keeping wages and costs unreasonably low.

Don’t expect things to get any better any time soon.  The demand on factories here is too great on factories.

Of course, outsourcing has always been a high risk strategy.  There is no substitute for owning your own factories.  Nor, as far as I can tell, can Americans take criticism.  The problem must lie with “the other”.

Taking investment to Vietnam won’t change a thing, unless the approach changes.

Have a happy day …

Regards … Name withheld – ShangHai
Good links to try:
to Diary of the Mad Pigeon, third world county, Faultline USA, Stageleft, Big Dog’s Weblog, Walls of the City, The Pet Haven Blog, The Pink Flamingo, The Bullwinkle Blog, Conservative Cat, Adeline and Hazel, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Best of all RIGHT TRUTH!
http://righttruth.typepad.com/right_truth/

China bans sales of leukemia drug in latest medicine scare

July 8, 2007

BEIJING (AFP) – China’s drug regulator has suspended the sales of a leukemia and arthritis drug due to complaints by patients, state press said Sunday, in the latest incident to plague the nation’s medicine industry.

The move comes as China’s quality-control systems have been called into serious question both domestically and internationally due to incidents ranging from fake drugs to tainted food.

The State Food and Drug Administration on Saturday suspended the sale of methotrexate after children being treated for acute leukemia reported feeling pain and had difficulty walking after being injected with the drug, Xinhua news agency said.

Read the rest at:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070708/hl_afp/
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