Tuesday, May 5, 2009

China's Bad Medicine and Its Impact on the US

The Wall Street Journal features an informative editorial by Roger Bate in today's issue on the counterfeiting drug trade in China. Roger Bate is an expert on counterfeit drugs and is the author of the book “Making a Killing: The Deadly Implications of the Counterfeit Drug Trade.”

Mr. Bates discusses the scope of the problem in China and what the Chinese government can do to combat the issue. The black market is a huge enterprise in China employing as many as 5 million Chinese citizens in the counterfeit market. This is an alarming fact seeing as China is the fourth largest pharmaceutical exporter and supplies 40% of the global supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API).

The scope of Chinese counterfeiting has been felt globally as shown in these most recent incidents cited by Mr. Bates: In the United Kingdom in March of this year, Chinese counterfeit pharmaceuticals amounting to $745,000 were seized. In January of this year, two people died and nine were hospitalized due to counterfeit diabetes drugs in Xinjiang province. Last year hundreds suffered adverse reactions and at least 95 died due to a chemical ingredient that is believe to have been deliberately adulterated by Chinese suppliers.

In his paper “The Problems and Potential of China’s Pharmaceutical Industry” Bates further discusses the problem and why the world should be concerned. He states:

“With more Americans opting to procure drugs directly from overseas, often by purchasing over the Internet, understanding the causes of the counterfeit and substandard problem in China—and what can be done to combat it—has never been more important.”
To combat counterfeit drugs, he stresses the importance of collecting reliable information and coordinating consistent unbiased regulatory enforcement.

To view the editorial visit the Wall Street journal at www.wsj.com.

To view the paper "The Problems and Potential of China’s Pharmaceutical Industry” by Roger Bates and Karen Porter, visit the American Enterprise Institute for Public Research at: www.aei.org

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