It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
(visit the link for the full news article)
After a contaminated medicine from China was linked to as many as 17 deaths in the United States, members of Congress clamored for changes while regulators defended their actions.
The drug was a common antibiotic, and the year was 1999. But in recent weeks, the Food and Drug Administration has faced an almost identical crisis. Nineteen deaths have been linked to contaminated heparin, a crucial blood thinner manufactured in China. Again the drug agency became aware of the problem only after hundreds were sickened. Again Congress is investigating.
The FDA admitted that it violated its own policies by failing to inspect the China plant, and on Friday it said it had alerted border agents to detain suspect heparin shipments.
"This heparin problem has happened before with other drugs," said William Hubbard, a former FDA deputy commissioner, "and it's going to keep happening until Congress fixes this problem."
The agency does not have the money to inspect many more, and the Bush administration has no plans to fix this most basic of problems. The administration's budget calls for a 3 percent increase in allocated funds next year, not enough even to keep up with rising costs.
Eighty percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients of drugs consumed in the United States are manufactured abroad; 40 percent are made in China and India. Meanwhile, the FDA has cut back on its foreign drug inspections, which declined to 341 in 2006 from 391 in 2000.