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December 17, 2008
Contaminated drug imports threaten Americans

The majority of drugs in the U.S. contain ingredients that are produced overseas, often with no oversight by the Food and Drug Administration.

China is becoming a world leader in drug production, and 80 percent of drugs sold in the U.S. include ingredients from China, India and other countries — anything from aspirin to antibiotics.

Many of the ingredients in heparin, a blood thinner used by 10 million Americans each year, come from China. But between January 2007 and May 2008, at least 246 people died after receiving the drug.

Worldfocus editorial consultant Peter Eisner, the former deputy foreign editor of The Washington Post, reports on the deadly contamination of U.S. drugs.

Read contributor Knut Royce’s investigative report on heparin contamination: FDA failures contribute to spread of contaminated drugs.

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Comments

2 comments

#2

Why aren’t the drug companies being held accountable? And why didn’t you address this question in your story? They are making billions of dollars off the drugs they overprice and sell to the American population and yet they seemingly do not have quality control over their own products. This makes no sense. Food producers always take samples of the product and constantly test for consistency, taste, color, etc. so the consumer will want to keep coming back and buy their products. Here we have a situation of raw products being purchased from foreign countries to be mixed in and a pill or serum produced and no one is checking the ingredients? The parents of the baby who died in your news story should hire a really good lawyer and sue the American drug manufacturer within an inch of their profit and loss statement.
We criticized China and yet turn a blind eye in our own country. How pathetic. And sad.

#1

Note that the prior FDA Commissioner clearly stated that the FDA does not have the resources to inspect the hundreds of drug manufacturing plants in China. In fact, the FDA is not adequately funded to inspect the hundreds of thousands of plants in the U.S., let alone the plants in the numerous other countries providing drugs to the U.S. The FDA’s budget barely provides resources to hire enough employees do the many tasks it is charged with, as is made clear by the FDA to Congress every year. Nonetheless when the FDA is not provided adequate funding by Congress to hire enough employees to increase investigations in China, it seems that it is very easy for reporters and many others to blame the FDA rather than the Congress who funds them and the people of the United States who do not ask their representatives to increase funding to the FDA. Furthermore, the FDA is part of the Executive Branch of government and is bound by legislative action in what it does. The Congress had to pass an emergency funding bill recently for the FDA to have the money to inspect drug manufacturers in China. Why didn’t Congress see fit to provide this money in the regular Budget they passed in February so the FDA could do these investigations or in the previous years when the FDA asked for more funding to ensure the safety of drugs coming from overseas?

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