Before new pharmaceuticals can be approved for sale to the public, they need to undergo rigorous trials. The process is expensive and for some promising medications, the promise of a new “wonder drug” is not fulfilled. The drug may be ineffective or toxic or somehow not be an improvement on what is currently available.
Medications in N. America and Europe face rigorous reviews and staged trials before being licensed for sale. Even so, criticisms can creep in of the process when scientists have what is perceived to be a too close relationship with the pharmaceutical company.
The State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) in China recently conducted a review of 1622 clinical trials. They concluded that 80% of the reports were faked.
While the widespread fakery is shocking to western ears, it is not news to some living with it in the PRC.
I don't think that the 80 percent figure is overstated," Luo said. "If you compare Western pharmaceuticals manufactured overseas with those manufactured in China, there is a huge difference in the ingredients; the quality of the China-made drugs is appalling." RFA
As the general population in the PRC increases, the demand for traditional medicines has also increased. That area of health is also seeing an upsurge in fakery.
Vaccines that have been improperly stored or past their effective life has also become a problem in some areas. In March of this year 37 people were arrested in the PRC for illegally selling vaccines. Their territory covered 20 provinces and was valued at about $88 million USD. The vaccines were not properly stored or transported. The authorities alleged that some of the vaccines were purchased from legitimate sources, others not so.
The scandal has shaken the faith that many have in immunization programmes in the PRC especially when some children have died shortly after being vaccinated for preventable diseases.
Where there is money to be made there are often people willing to ignore ethics to make it. China is not alone in vaccine scandals. Indonesia is also coping with fake immunizations which have left children vulnerable to preventable disease.
Radio Free Asia
New York Times
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