Sunday, March 16, 2008

is this really a good idea?

This ongoing story about heparin produced by Chinese sources is scary. First China says that ensuring the safety and purity of Chinese-made pharmaceuticals is not their job. Then inspections by the FDA reveal significant quality control issues. And this is in China, where true surprise inspections by the FDA are not possible. Now it's been discovered that there is significant contamination with a substance that is chemically similar to heparin but does not act the same in the body.

The next logical question is whether this contamination is the result of a problem in manufacturing, an act of sabotage, or a substitution to reduce manufacturing cost. Follow-up stories have mentioned that China has become one of the largest sources of raw pharmaceutical ingredients, so the problem may be much bigger than heparin, which is not insignificant.

Previous problems with pet food ingredients and human foods might suggest that corporate greed may cost many of us our health if this continues.

Sounds like it's time to start making a stink about this to our U.S. Senators and Representatives, folks. Pharmaceuticals from foreign sources should be subject to the same regulations and standards as U.S.-produced items. China can't have it both ways. If they want the world's business, they have to be accountable for the quality of their products, starting now.

No comments: