3. International Healthcare: China Rx: Exposing the Risks of American Dependence on Chinaby admin on 11/05/2019 5:15 AM
Rosemary Gibson, Author of China Rx, gave a very disturbing presentation on the world pattern of generic drug manufacturing. When we opened free trade with China, and our pharmaceutical houses were looking where they were making generic drugs cheaper, China became the primary supplier. The drugs may be packaged domestically, but the ingredients come from China. Our vitamin C plants are gone. We used to have penicillin fermentation plants all over the country and now they are all gone. We cannot produce penicillin in this country any longer. When the anthrax scare came into our country, and the federal government wanted to buy 20 million doses of antibiotics to combat anthrax, our European sources could not our need. Then the military had an anthrax need and only China could provide the required doses of vaccine. Gibson presented the reality of our dependence on our adversary for so many of our critically required drugs. China is becoming the pharmacy of the world.
There’s been a quiet but dramatic shift in where we get our prescription drugs. We are increasingly dependent on China. And that could be a major national security risk. Healthcare author Rosemary Gibson makes a convincing case in the new book: Chinese Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine.
Gibson pointed out some scenarios: Suppose there were some hostilities in the South China Sea where we have some large aircraft carriers and other forces, and we couldn’t get adequate basic medications. This could be devastating to our forces near a hostile adversary. “What happens if we have a Fukushima type event or the trade routes are blocked in the South China Sea? Or if there’s a global pandemic? And the United States and virtually every other country in the world is dependent on a few companies in China for the ingredients to make critical antibiotics.”
“Within months pharmacy shelves in the United States would be bare. That’s how dependent the United States and the rest of the world is on China. It’s a national security issue that no one’s talking about,” Gibson said. Her new book China Rx is an investigative report into the dependence on China for the provision of crucial medications and the difficulties it creates for FDA oversight and more importantly for national security.
Now, the generic drugs that we’re buying from China and Chinese companies in China include blood pressure medicines, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, antidepressants the whole range of generic drugs now that we are importing from China.
Doctors and patients have no clue about this big shift in where our medicines are coming from.
Question: What are some of the overview problems that the FDA finds when they do look at plants in China?
ROSEMARY GIBSON: I’ll give you one example. There’s a very large company in China that was making 29 different drugs for products for the United States. The FDA went in and found systemic data manipulation. The FDA went in because there were lots of consumer complaints about the products. There were particles in them and other things. And so, the FDA banned 29 of those drugs. But because we’re so dependent on China and dependent on that company the FDA had to exempt 14 of those products from its own ban just so we wouldn’t have a shortage. We’re talking about antibiotics. That’s how dependent we are as a country.
SHARYL ATTKISSON: It sounds kind of outrageous that you’re saying the FDA banned products for safety reasons and then lifted the ban on some of them because there would have been a shortage?
ROSEMARY GIBSON: Exactly right. We’re talking about chemotherapy products and we need chemotherapy and how many people know this?
SHARYL ATTKISSON: There is one case where we have been able to pinpoint a huge contamination problem from Chinese drugs?
ROSEMARY GIBSON: Yes. In 2007 and 2008, a very commonly used drug in hospitals all over the country. It’s called heparin. The active ingredient came from China. And it turns out it was contaminated. Heparin is a blood thinner used in hospitals in operating rooms and dialysis kidney dialysis centers. And it turns out it was contaminated with a lethal contaminant. How many people were affected? We really don’t know. There are official reports to the FDA about 250 people died associated with heparin, but do we really know the full course of it. How do we know?
SHARYL ATTKISSON: If China stopped making or sending its ingredients to the United States for any reason, would it cause shortages in the United States?
ROSEMARY GIBSON: Within months pharmacy shelves in the United States would be bare. That’s how dependent the United States is and the rest of the world. It’s a national security issue that no one’s talking about.
Government medicine does not give timely access to healthcare, only access to a waiting list.
But will you receive care at the head of the line if we are held hostage by our foreign suppliers?
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