(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…..
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!