Fool Me Once Shame On You, Fool Me 2,128 Times…

heparin.jpgOver the last year or so the “Chinese brand” has been under quite a bit of stress. From pet food contaminated with melamine to toys painted with lead paint the visibility of products manufactured in China with serious defects has been increasing. Most recently we have reports of a Chinese chemical manufacturing plant, unlicensed by the Chinese government for pharmaceutical manufacture and certified by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration in the mistaken understanding that it was a completely different plant, supplying heparin for Baxter

The FDA thought it had inspected the Chinese factory that makes the active ingredient in Baxter International’s heparin. Turns out the agency had actually inspected a plant with a similar sounding name.

“The wrong firm was put into the database,” an FDA official said yesterday, the Chicago Tribune reports. That blunder’s in the spotlight now because Baxter’s heparin, a blood thinning drug, has been tied to hundreds of adverse reactions in the last few months, including four deaths.

The FDA isn’t required by law to inspect foreign drug plants, and the agency lacks the resources to do so in any kind of comprehensive way. The agency said it inspected 250 foreign pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturers last year, 13 of which were in China [ed. out of some 700 facilities], according to the Tribune.

and a digital picture frame produced in China that contained a Trojan Horse that collected passwords for online games and who knows what all else

SEATTLE, Feb. 18 (UPI) — A powerful virus recently discovered in digital photo frames has been identified as a Chinese Trojan Horse that gathers personal information.

So far the Trojan Horse has simply collected passwords for online games, but experts say the designers might have larger targets in mind, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Monday.

“It is a nasty worm that has a great deal of intelligence,” said Brian Grayek, who heads product development at Computer Associates, a security vendor that analyzed the Trojan Horse.

The virus, which has been named Mocmex, blocks ant-ivirus protection from more than 100 vendors, as well as the security and firewall built into Microsoft Windows. It spreads by hiding itself on photo frames and other portable storage devices that are plugged into an infected PC.

The Chinese government has itself said that it doesn’t have the ability to keep track of the hundreds of thousands or millions of companies in the country. Should our government be able to do so?

Last month alone the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued 38 product recalls and notices. Of these 21 were for products manufactured in China.

A certain number of problems, even a lot of problems, are understandable given the enormous variety and number of products manufactured in China that are on the shelves of American stores. But 3/5’s of all recalls sounds like a lot to me.

The last thing I am is anti-Chinese. The opposite, if anything. But, considering the lack of recourse for product defects for foreign-made products, particularly in food and pharmaceuticals which even the wariest consumer may have no way of telling where they were made, I really think it’s time that we implement a country of origin labelling law for foods and drugs that goes down to the ingredient level. If the market is to decide, the market needs to have the data to make an informed decision.

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Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.

Comments

  1. Tlaloc says:

    The Chinese government has itself said that it doesn’t have the ability to keep track of the hundreds of thousands or millions of companies in the country.

    Ah, a double dose of irony.
    1) a nominally communist company demonstrates greater laissez fair capitalism
    2) said demonstration only goes to prove why truly free market capitalism fails spectacularly

    quite the hoot! 🙂

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    If you’re looking to me for a defense of survival of the fittest, laissez-faire capitalism, red in tooth and claw, you’re looking at the wrong guy. I think the challenge is in drawing the line on the level of regulation not in whether there should be regulation or not.

  3. legion says:

    I think the challenge is in drawing the line on the level of regulation not in whether there should be regulation or not.

    Indeed, Dave. Everyone who actually trumpets true ‘no-holds-barred’ free marketism is either a moron who doesn’t think their blessed market philosophy will ever be corrupted by people who have different philosophies, or they’re bald liars who really only want money and have no morals at all about what they say or do to get it. Pure systems don’t actually exist in the real world.

    For similar reasons, I’d like to think that Bush’s tenure will be looked back on as the final proof that supply-side economics is just another ponzi scam, but I also hoped that the last time we had Republicans in the WH too…

  4. Dave Schuler says:

    Everyone who actually trumpets true ‘no-holds-barred’ free marketism is either a moron who doesn’t think their blessed market philosophy will ever be corrupted by people who have different philosophies, or they’re bald liars who really only want money and have no morals at all about what they say or do to get it.

    Or they’ve redefined “free market” to include the constraints they like.

  5. Tlaloc says:

    If you’re looking to me for a defense of survival of the fittest, laissez-faire capitalism, red in tooth and claw, you’re looking at the wrong guy. I think the challenge is in drawing the line on the level of regulation not in whether there should be regulation or not.

    No disagreement from me, but there are, you know, more than a few libertarians online. Try telling the fine folk at Cato and Reason that laissez fair capitalism doesn’t work worth a damn. In fact give them a mountain of evidence of the same they’ll still squawk “free market” like a bunch of trained parrots.

  6. just me says:

    I think country of origin labeling is a great idea.

    Although my concern is with medications-generic kinds that are often the insurance companies preferred brand or I get stuck with a tons higher bill.

    I also don’t buy the idea that China is unable to police its companies, the reality is tht it is unwilling to set standards and hold their companies accountable to them.

  7. legion says:

    I also don’t buy the idea that China is unable to police its companies, the reality is tht it is unwilling to set standards and hold their companies accountable to them.

    DINGDING! You are correct, sir. Holding the companies to rules would cut into their profits – profits which go nearly directly into the pockets of the gov’t officials who would be responsible for enforcing said rules, if they existed. Good thing we don’t have that problem under our system…