China — they just don’t care.
“The syrupy poison, diethylene glycol, is an indispensable part of the modern world, an industrial solvent and prime ingredient in some antifreeze.
“It is also a killer. And the deaths, if not intentional, are often no accident.
“Over the years, the poison has been loaded into all varieties of medicine — cough syrup, fever medication, injectable drugs — a result of counterfeiters who profit by substituting the sweet-tasting solvent for a safe, more expensive syrup, usually glycerin, commonly used in drugs, food, toothpaste and other products.
“Toxic syrup has figured in at least eight mass poisonings around the world in the past two decades. Researchers estimate that thousands have died. In many cases, the precise origin of the poison has never been determined. But records and interviews show that in three of the last four cases it was made in China, a major source of counterfeit drugs.
“Panama is the most recent victim. Last year, government officials there unwittingly mixed diethylene glycol into 260,000 bottles of cold medicine — with devastating results. Families have reported 365 deaths from the poison, 100 of which have been confirmed so far. With the onset of the rainy season, investigators are racing to exhume as many potential victims as possible before bodies decompose even more.
“Panama’s death toll leads directly to Chinese companies that made and exported the poison as 99.5 percent pure glycerin.”
On the other hand.
“The counterfeit glycerin passed through three trading companies on three continents, yet not one of them tested the syrup to confirm what was on the label. Along the way, a certificate falsely attesting to the purity of the shipment was repeatedly altered, eliminating the name of the manufacturer and previous owner. As a result, traders bought the syrup without knowing where it came from, or who made it. With this information, the traders might have discovered — as The Times did — that the manufacturer was not certified to make pharmaceutical ingredients.”
From China to Panama, a Trail of Poisoned Medicine, by Walt Bogdanich and Jake Hooker, NYT, May 6, 2007 (via donkey o.d.)
Well, God help us all because the only thing standing between us and mass murder this coming flu season is the NYT and the FDA. So, shouldn’t some of our tax money be used by the FDA to deal with this? Just asking. We really need to stop spending money in Iraq and take care of business at home, y’know?
It’s bad enough that we need cheaper drugs, but now we have to think about where the ingredients come from. Just wonderful. Read the whole story, it’s horrifying.
Goddammit, what the hell is wrong with the world?