by: Lisa Garber
August 7, 2012
Nearly 2,000 people have been detained and $180 million worth of fake pharmaceuticals seized in China’s latest crackdown. The detentions and seizures took place in late July but, in an effort to express its commitment to cleaning up Chinese industry’s tattered reputation, its Ministry of Public Security released the information on Sunday. The pharmaceuticals in question were counterfeit drugs for hypertension, diabetes, skin diseases, rabies, and even cancer.
Counterfeit Drugs – FDA Fails to Inspect Foreign Factories
China is one of the world’s biggest producers of fake pharmaceuticals. It is also one of the biggest producers of our drugs in America.
Although the Chinese government has made more and tightened existing regulations of late, it has much bad karma to convince consumers to forget. The government executed the director of its food and drug agency in 2007 for taking cash in exchange for approval of counterfeit, even deadly medication. Though this didn’t prevent the deaths of 81 people in the United States the very next year as a result of a tainted batch of heparin, a blood thinner.
Still, the Food and Drug Administration can’t be bothered to buy plane tickets to visit many of those or other foreign factories; a whopping 81% of them have never even been visited by an FDA inspector! It is no surprise so many counterfeit drugs are being circulated.
The Price Squeeze
The pharmaceutical industry is booming in China despite these disasters. Many provinces have even established bidding systems so drug companies can sell at rock bottom prices in exchange for hospital and pharmaceutical contracts.
So, how low can they go? In an example from earlier this year, China’s drug regulator stopped sales of 13 types of drugs with dangerous levels of chromium. How did it get there? The capsules for these counterfeit drugs were made from leather scraps with industrial gelatin—and chromium—from the tanning process.
How to stay safe
How are we to protect ourselves against counterfeit, often deadly drugs when they are so rampantly made in faraway factories our own government doesn’t care to inspect? Remember that every dollar is a vote. The government—and certainly Big Pharma—won’t count it, but your body will appreciate high quality supplements made of food-based ingredients without toxic fillers and synthetic ingredients.
Remember Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine.” Many foods like turmeric and ginger have been found to work better than pharmaceuticals in helping treat many chronic diseases.