Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Prescription Drug Reform Comes to China

China's former head of its food and drug agency has been sentenced to death after accepting bribes amounting to 6.5 million Yuan from eight companies. During his tenure the Sydney Morning Herald reported the following,

"During his tenure, dozens died in China from bad drugs and food products. In 2004 at least 13 babies died of malnutrition in Anhui province after being fed fake milk powder containing no nutrition.

The safety of China's food has also come under the international spotlight after wheat gluten and rice protein containing toxic scrap was exported to the United States and used in pet food, killing some cats and dogs."

Contrast this with the fate of Lester Crawford, disgraced former deputy and (briefly) head of the FDA. Here are a few concerns that arose during his time,

"His three-year tenure at FDA was marked by increasing criticism and a particularly rocky final 12 months. The painkiller Vioxx was pulled off the market for safety problems, FDA was embarrassed last fall when its British counterparts shut down a supplier of U.S. flu vaccine for tainted shots, and over the summer recalls of malfunctioning heart devices mounted."
His fate:

"In October 2007, Crawford pled guilty to charges that he hid his ownership in stock in food and drug companies that the FDA regulates. He was sentenced earlier this year to three years probation and fined $90,000.

For the past year or so, Crawford has worked at a consulting firm, Policy Directions.

And he's scheduled to appear as a keynote speaker later this year at the FDA Regulatory and Compliance Symposium at Harvard University."

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