Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Not for All the Tainted Drugs in China

Shared by Leander
The New York Times reported today on quality control problems in China's pharmaceutical industry. Turns out a Chinese drug conglomerate manufactured tainted anti-cancer drugs, including methotrexate, which caused paralysis or injury to nearly 200 Chinese patients. The Times was disturbed that a subsidiary of this firm also makes the bulk powder for RU-486, the abortion drug, which is shipped here, packaged, and then sold. Records, which FRC has seen, indicate that the Chinese RU-486 plant passed inspection in 2007; however, that was its only inspection in seven years. Furthermore, we understand that surprise inspections of Chinese plants are not allowed. That has to change. There is no evidence yet that the tainted methotrexate made it to the U.S., but this story underscores that we are playing Russian roulette with Chinese drug imports. (It is worth noting that methotrexate is the primary abortifacient alternative to RU-486 and is used "off-label" in up to 10% of American medical abortions.) We agree with consumer advocate Dr. Sidney Wolfe that all plants owned by this company and its subsidiaries must be inspected immediately--with the results being released to the public. As for the dubious manner in which the FDA operates, FRC and co-plaintiffs will be in court next month arguing that the agency has unlawfully allowed the morning-after-pill, Plan B, to be sold over-the-counter since late 2006.
Source: Family Research Council

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