Saturday, April 12, 2008

Steal This Post

I wrote this post some days ago while stewing over this issue. I just wanted to vent and find writing to be helpful. I wasn't even sure I'd post this letter of outrage (I've already made my opinion known to my legislators). I just can't keep silent. One thing I've always recognized in myself as a sometimes flaw, sometimes asset, is my overwhelming sense that justice must be served. Unlike revenge, justice is a dish that is sometimes better served warm. It would seem it needs to be en flambe in this case as there is a curious silence shrouding this issue of counterfeiting. Why is that? Is there a complicity on the part of drug companies involved? The writers addressing this issue aren't government sources. Just Google "counterfeit heparin" and see what pops. It isn't the FDA, the CDC or the NIH. Today, I did just that and found this thought provoking post. People need to pay attention to this critical situation. I'm quite certain that this is only the surface of a much deeper problem.

In the event you are as shocked and concerned as me with recent news from China regarding product safety, I'd like to encourage you to use my words and write your congressman and senator. If you can't find the words or don't have time, use mine. Let your voice be heard. Just copy and paste, personalize it for yourself and email it. Here is where you can find the appropriate addresses for your representatives (mine are in my email address book because apparently, I'm a pain in the ass and always write about whatever I think needs to change). It's highly likely the Levins (one Levin is a US Senator and one is a US Congressman) cringe when they see my email addy in their inbox.

Your U.S. Senators
Your U.S. House of Representatives

Dear ______________:

I am becoming increasingly concerned with the safety of manufacturing practices of all products being produced in China. Unfortunately, I can't just stop buying things made in China. They're everywhere and present in things one wouldn't ordinarily think about.

Recently, it has come to light that during the manufacturing of crude heparin in China, a product manipulated by man to look chemically identical to heparin sodium (hypersulfated chondroitin) has been added. I can't see more than two reasons to do this. The first is for financial gain and the second is more sinister.

This incident leaves medical practitioners rather limited to drugs they can use in pulmonary and cardiac emergencies. Heparin was a standard of care for myocardial infarction and pulmonary embolism. Heparin is a drug that up until a month or so ago, nurses and doctors administered daily. How can they be sure they didn't see side effects of the additive in heparin but mistook the signs and symptoms of shock as a progression of a patient's presenting problem?

It also concerns me deeply that this is just the tip of the iceberg with these manufacturing practices. The FDA came short of saying this was deliberate but I am having a difficult time accepting that it's anything but purposeful. There is no reason hypersulfated chondroitin should be present in heparin. Nor is there any reason to take chondroitin and modify it so that it appears to look chemically identical to heparin. In my opinion, it's highly suspicious.

First, it was our pets and contamination of their food with a product manipulated to look nutritious. Then it was lead in toys we give to the most vulnerable members of our community, our children. Now it's medications we use commonly for patient's in crisis. Where will this end? At what point do we say enough and start enforcing standards in China that made business here too costly and difficult? At what point do we hold China and the manufacturers of these products responsible for the counterfeiting practices and safety violations they repeatedly demonstrate? We aren't just talking designer clothing here. This issue has gone way beyond a handbag as it's becoming detrimental to our health.

I would hope that our legislators are investigating these issues. Please let me know what measures are being taken to improve the safety issues that have been repeatedly in the news in respect to product manufacturing in China.


So go ahead, use my words. I don't mind this once. Here are a few more words, not my own, that should reminds us of a couple of things:

"There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible."

Henry Ford


Rositta said...

Our government passed a law last week, a consumer protection law that supposedly will make goods coming from other countries safer. The problem is that everyone is afraid of China, they have become very powerful. Canada exports a lot to China and without that trade we'd be in big trouble so everyone tiptoes around the issue. I will post your blog on tomorrow, tonight, well I'm baking...ciao

Rudee said...

I hope your law makes a difference. I'm afraid we have the same issues here in respect to having to tiptoe around issues. In this day and age, with our knowledge of what does harm, I don't think it's out of the realm to expect some basic safety issues.