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
The government of Columbia and representatives of FARC have signed a peace agreement. President Juan Manuel Santos and the Marxist leader “Timochenko”, aka Rodrigo Londono have come to an accord.
The people of Columbia have to ratify the deal. The vote is slated for October 2. In spite of some misgivings about the settlement, the people are expected to vote to support the deal. The European Union has already removed FARC from its terror list and US Secretary of State John Kerry had praise for the agreement. He pledged the support of his country and backed it with the commitment of $390m in support to aid in the transition to a peaceful state.
The deal has been inching towards an agreement since 2012 when Havana offered a neutral place for the two sides to meet. And this is where the agreement was inked. If the people ratify and the FARC rebels adhere to their part, then this will end a 52 year long war that has seen both sides commit crimes against humanity.
FARC has been accused of financing its war by selling drugs, kidnapping, extortion and illegal mining as well as terrorism and murder. The government, according to UN reports, was the principal murderer with nearly 90% of the extra-legal deaths attributed to the military and paramilitaries.
A controversial part of the agreement is that of amnesty granted to the rebels if they confess to their crimes. FARC is to be allowed to morph into a political party. The current government is to undertake land reform and develop the rural areas.
Currently much of the control and wealth of the country is concentrated among the ruling elite. Foreign states have been blamed for enabling the ruling elite to maintain a firm hand on the controls. The War on Drugs has been used to justify increasing the Columbian military. Some of the financing for this has come from foreign countries.
These increases have been made possible by Plan Colombia, a $1.3bn US military aid package which makes Colombia the third highest recipient of US military aid in the World (CIP, 2000). Plan Colombia's core stated objective is drug eradication though also involves the strengthening of the Colombian military … Columbia Solidarity
Saturday the people of Columbia have their best chance at peace. They have suffered for over half a century, marking over 200 000 deaths, many more maimed and about five million people displaced.
Another man of colour has been shot by American police. The latest man to be killed was 43 year old Keith Lamont Scott who was shot to death on Tuesday.
According to police, they were in the area to serve a warrant to someone else when they noticed Mr. Scott sitting in his car. They ordered him out of the vehicle and he ended up shot to death. Police say that Mr. Scott pointed a gun at them. A handgun was found at the scene.
That version of events diverges from evidence provided by Mr. Scott’s daughter.
"The daughter of Keith Lamont Scott says that her father did not have a gun, that he was not armed, and that he was sitting in the car reading a book waiting on his son to get off a bus from school," she says. NPR
While the truth and evidence may be hard to find here, it remains that in the USA, many men of colour seem to be targets of police harassment and often violence.
Tuesday night saw a gathering of angry people who started peacefully chanting and shouting out their anger at another black man dead at the hands of the police. Around 11 pm the angry people began to throw bottles and rocks at police and their cruisers.
The authorities replied with helicopters, scores of police in riot gear and tear gas.
It may be surprising to some that the US Representative for the area, Robert Pittinger, declared that the black people hate white people because white people are successful. He later tried to take back that assertion as condemnation of his bigoted speech started to roll in.
Wednesday night protests resumed. One of the protesters was shot and is critical condition on life support. Authorities state that it was a fellow protester who fired a gun.
On Friday, video recorded by Scott’s wife on her cell phone, showed some of the events leading to the death of her husband. She is heard to shout at the police officers that her husband has a brain injury and that he was unarmed. Three of the officers were wearing cameras. The fourth officer was in plain clothes. There was also a dash camera on one of the police cars. Those videos have not yet been released.
What is known is that Scott was shot multiple times.
The Charlotte Post
The hoped for aid to besieged people in the Syrian city of Aleppo has come to a tragic end. Eighteen trucks loaded with food and medical supplies have been destroyed and 23 aid workers are dead. The joint effort of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent came under attack from the air. The warehouse in Aid Aleppo was targeted as well. Witnesses report that the bombing lasted two hours.
The Russians deny that the catastrophe was an air strike. They say that neither the Russians nor the Syrians attacked the convoy. After studying video of the site, they venture to say that a fire started on the ground led to the destruction of the convoy.
On the opposite side of the fence, the US places blame on the Russians for not controlling the Syrian airforce. The US has reported that Russian planes were in the area during the attack and Russians report that a US Predator drone was in the area at the same time.
“A sustained attack on a humanitarian convoy and workers, horrific enough in any circumstances, will in this case also have a disastrous impact not only on those desperate civilians for whom the assistance was intended, but for life-saving humanitarian operations throughout Syria,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International. Amnesty International
The result of the destruction of the trucks and the deaths of humanitarian workers is that all aid into Syria has now ceased.
It looks as if the joint peace plan brokered by the US and Russia has now been scuttled. It was to start with a seven day ceasefire and then move to a second stage where more peace initiatives would be implemented. The ceasefire was violated on numerous occasions by both sides in the conflict.
The UK has announced that they are going to build another nuclear power station at Hinkley Point, Sommerset. The construction is to be done by two state owned foreign firms, a French(EDF) and a Chinese(CGN).
The estimated cost to finish the plant varies from 18 billion pounds to an all in with financing costs included to 29.7 billion. The carrot of jobs for 26 000 people may wilt somewhat when the foreign firms wish to bring their own experts into the UK to work.
The world is still trying to cope with the Fukushima disaster which is still leaking radioactivity more than five years since the cores melted. In spite of this, the proponents of nuclear power try to portray it as a “green” source of energy because the reactors do not spew carbon dioxide.
The cement industry is a major source of carbon dioxide emissions. Nuclear power plants use a great deal of cement in construction.
If the new plant can be made more safe that the UK’s Sellafield, that would be a vast improvement. The ponds at Sellafield are open to the sky and crammed with spent fuel that is still intensely radioactive. The ponds were decommissioned in 1974 but remain dangerous.
But in the 40 years since the ponds were abandoned, the entire system has broken down. Locks, gantries, lifts and valves are all broken, missing or seized up.
The concrete is riddled with cracks - including not just the ones that you can see, but also those out of sight in the connecting tunnels. The entire environment is far too radioactive for anyone to be able to enter. The Ecologist
Sellafield is the site of the nuclear pile known as Windscale, where one of the worst nuclear accidents happened. It was the worst nuclear disaster that the world had seen until the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl blew up. Devastation to the countryside was mitigated by last minute filters attached to the stacks. In spite of the filters, radiation leaked and was blamed for hundreds of cases of cancer in the area.
The plant is going ahead in spite of thousands of people opposing it. Some oppose the project because of safety, some object because the disposal of nuclear waste is difficult and others object because of the heavy involvement of the Chinese government.
European News Weekly
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