Tuesday, April 22, 2008



The political right-- in our case the Republican Party-- always claims the market will act to weed out "bad" companies and that no rules and regulations should get in the way of a free market. That's why they oppose, ideologically, and often psychotically, federal regulatory agencies. And it's why the Bush Regime has consistently undermined them. And that's why we have an incompetent FAA whose mistakes and inability to function-- something designed at the highest level-- causes thousands of flights to get canceled. Fortunately no planes fell out of the skies. People in New Orleans who counted on a FEMA that functioned smoothly under past administrations, were less fortunate.

This morning's NY Times reports that 81 deaths in the U.S. can be traced to a contaminated blood thinner, Heparin, made in China. I hope my house won't be picketed because I'm republishing this.
The dispute is a sign of growing tensions between China and the United States over the safety of Chinese imports. China has in recent years exported poisonous toothpaste, lead-painted toys, toxic pet food, tainted fish and now, contaminated medicine.

Bills to require far more aggressive inspections of Chinese products and companies are being proposed by members of Congress. Hearings are scheduled for Tuesday in the House and Thursday in the Senate.

China has lurched between defensiveness and cooperation on issues of product safety. Last year, it initially blocked the F.D.A. from investigating tainted pet food and accused foreign forces of exaggerating the issue. Then in July, China said that it had executed its former top food and drug regulator for taking bribes and promised reforms.

The F.D.A. sent a warning letter on Monday to Changzhou SPL, the Chinese plant identified as the source of contaminated heparin made by Baxter International in the United States. It warned that the plant used unclean tanks to make heparin, that it accepted raw materials from an unacceptable vendor and that it had no adequate way to remove impurities.

Heparin is made from the mucous membranes of the intestines of slaughtered pigs that, in China, are often cooked in unregulated family workshops. The contaminant, identified as oversulfated chondroitin sulfate, a cheaper substance, slipped through the usual testing and was recognized only after more sophisticated tests were used.

...[T]he Government Accountability Office will release a report on Tuesday showing that the F.D.A. would need to spend at least $56 million more next year to begin full inspections of foreign plants. It would need to spend at least $15 million annually to inspect China’s drug plants every two years, which is the domestic standard.

Bush administration officials have acknowledged problems associated with poor inspection of overseas plants and have plans to improve the situation. But President Bush’s budget does not provide the F.D.A. with funds to hire more inspectors.

But 81 people are dead. Mitch McConnell and Elaine Chou have become multimillionaires by acting as unofficial lobbyists for Chinese industry and pushing "free trade" with that country. The entire Republican Party and the entire Blue Dog wing of the Democrats are complicit in the deaths of these people, all in the name of capitalistic excess gone awry and, of course, due to greed and avarice and campaign finance regulations that are made by the people who most need regulation! "At its present inspection pace, the F.D.A. would need at least 27 years to inspect every foreign medical device plant that exports to the United States, 13 years to check every foreign drug plant and 1,900 years to examine every foreign food plant." A good first step would be landslide defeats for every Republican and every Blue Dog Democrat up for re-election in November.

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At 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No wonder the GOP's articles of faith--and, come to think of it, those of their K Street drookies and malachiks as can be prepared to play the conservatives' "sammy act" on shortest of notice--REALLY call for nothing short of embracing what may best be called a "pure" form of capitalism as would "save America from herself" and "help empower the Lower Classes towards a New Golden Age of industry, self-reliance and personal responsibility."

(Those wondering about the allusion: Such is based on Marxist-Leninist beliefs seeing "pure socialism" as the final perfection of Communism, following an indeterminate period of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.

(The whole intended to be ironic and @ once sarcastic. Now you know.)

At 8:28 PM, Blogger tech98 said...

Changzhou SPL, the Chinese plant identified as the source of contaminated heparin made by Baxter International in the United States.

Remeber when the drug companies were warning us how SCARY and DANGEROUS it would be if people were allowed to privately import pharmaceuticals from Canada?


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