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FDA Warns of Terrorist Drug Tampering

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posted on Aug, 12 2004 @ 09:53 AM
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By DIEDTRA HENDERSON, AP Science Writer

WASHINGTON - "Cues from chatter" gathered around the world are raising concerns that terrorists might try to attack the domestic food and drug supply, particularly illegally imported prescription drugs, acting Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites) Commissioner Lester M. Crawford says.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Crawford said Wednesday that he had been briefed about al-Qaida plans uncovered during recent arrests and raids, but declined further comment about any possible threats.

"While we must assume that such a threat exists generally, we have no specific information now about any al-Qaida threats to our food or drug supply," said Brian Roehrkasse, spokesman for the Homeland Security Department.

Crawford said the possibility of such an attack was the most serious of his concerns about the increase in states and municipalities trying to import drugs from Canada to save money.

"We get our cues from chatter that occurs around the world, which is related to us by the intelligence community, and also from past incidents and things that happened domestically," he said.

Crawford noted the 1982 Tylenol case, in which packages of the extra-strength variety of the leading painkiller were removed from store shelves on Chicago's west side, filled with cyanide and returned to stores for purchase. Seven unsuspecting consumers were killed, and the incident prompted widespread adoption of tamperproof packaging.

"I would think that's something they would be looking at," Crawford said of terrorists. "Nothing like that has happened," he added. "But it is a source of continuing concern."

FDA (news - web sites) is under mounting pressure and faces a lawsuit filed by the state of Vermont to soften its opposition to importing drugs from Canada, which is seen by many consumers and state and local government officials as a way to shave thousands to millions of dollars from drug bills.

The FDA has held fast, saying it is concerned about the safety and effectiveness of the illegally imported drugs. So far, however, the agency has done little more than issue warning letters. And Crawford said the agency has not decided whether to vigorously defend itself against the Vermont lawsuit.

The agency's jitters about Canadian prescription imports are many. According to Crawford, some drugs are shipped without proper refrigeration, some have the wrong potency and some are counterfeit, lacking active ingredients.

Crawford's top concern is that terrorists could strike at drugs.

He said he was briefed about the al-Qaida threats uncovered by recent arrests and raids. Asked whether the briefing covered potential terror strikes against products the agency regulates including food and drugs Crawford declined further comment.

Two recent product tampering episodes the agency faced this summer ended without injury or death.

Baby food, which Crawford said was probably singled out for its "shock" effect, was laced with ground castor beans in Irvine, Calif. The contamination source is unclear; no arrest has been made. Ricin, a deadly toxin, is made from castor beans.

And a shipment of lemons from Argentina allegedly impregnated with an unidentified "harmful biological substance" was barred from entry at the Port of Newark, N.J., on Aug. 6. The U.S. Coast Guard (news - web sites), Homeland Security Department and the FDA worked on the investigation, freezing the lemons to preserve the contaminant.

"There was nothing we could find in there," Crawford said.

On other issues, Crawford said:

A second review links antidepressants with higher suicide rates among children. While outside observers who have read both reports say they contain enough detail for the FDA to recommend Prozac as the first drug of choice for depressed youths, Crawford said the agency will wait until its advisory committee meets in mid-September to give the FDA an expert basis for action.

_The agency approved two new injectable drugs, pentetate calcium trisodium and pentetate zinc trisodium, that speed the body's ability to rid itself of radioactive contamination. The drugs are the first products approved to treat contamination with plutonium, americium or curium, which could be released by a "dirty" bomb.

_Before year's end, the agency will provide regulations that define low-, reduced- or carbohydrate-free items. The FDA is leaning toward educating the public by highlighting healthier foods with a "starburst" tag or color-coded label.




story.news.yahoo.com.../ap/20040812/ap_on_he_me/fda_crawford_interview




posted on Aug, 12 2004 @ 09:54 AM
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I almost wonder if the goverment isnt just covering all the basics, so they cant say we didnt think of that.



posted on Aug, 12 2004 @ 09:57 AM
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great, now where am I supposed to get my percocet?



posted on Aug, 12 2004 @ 09:58 AM
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Originally posted by SpittinCobra
I almost wonder if the goverment isnt just covering all the basics, so they cant say we didnt think of that.


i think that is exactly what is going on, however sometime i think the govt might be giving terrorist helpful info especially when in the same breath as the warning they acknowledge their vulnerabilities.



posted on Aug, 12 2004 @ 10:01 AM
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Just another way for the gov't to control by fear. Next they'll say there's a water contamination threat, or a beef threat, or a Kleenex threat. They will continue to issue threats and warnings to keep us in fear. The more we are afraid, the more we will allow the gov't to do whatever we want.



posted on Aug, 12 2004 @ 10:07 AM
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Originally posted by mpeake
Just another way for the gov't to control by fear.


Sadly, I have to agree. Part of terrorism is keeping the general public "terrorized" It seems our own government is doing a very good job of that. I can see both sides here though. If drugs became tainted and the public wasn't warned and it was found they had even the slightest inkling that it "cloud" happen....they be up the creek for not reporting it to us.......whole situation sucks!



posted on Aug, 12 2004 @ 10:12 AM
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This one is not going to fit well with the big drug companies they will lose money.

On the other hand, perhaps if something happens let's said (somebody find a tampered package) then the big drug company can raise prices to covert for loses do to (terrorist) treads.

Just an oppinion in the ongoing "terrorist" saga.



posted on Aug, 12 2004 @ 10:13 AM
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Originally posted by LadyV

Originally posted by mpeake
Just another way for the gov't to control by fear.


Sadly, I have to agree. Part of terrorism is keeping the general public "terrorized" It seems our own government is doing a very good job of that. I can see both sides here though. If drugs became tainted and the public wasn't warned and it was found they had even the slightest inkling that it "cloud" happen....they be up the creek for not reporting it to us.......whole situation sucks!


You're right, if the threat came true and we didn't know about it, we'd be pissed that we didn't know about it. But, the gov't still wins, cause we will still be afraid, even more afraid than we were before. Thus allowing the gov't to place new laws and restrictions on the general public who had nothing to do with the act in the first place.

Go to an airport and tell me that we aren't suffering for the act of a terrorist. You can't get onto a plane without being harrassed by half a dozen gov't goons. All the while, they continue to fail their own private security tests by allowing an undercover person sneak onto a plane with a weapon. Why am I still taking my shoes a belt off in line when the security is still being breached?



posted on Aug, 12 2004 @ 10:19 AM
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Remember,
the federal government didn't want individuals as well as states getting their drugs from less expensive sources-preventing drug companies from raping Americans wallets-yea, the rich powewerful drug industry had nothing to do with that. First they tried-they may not be the same, then they tried it may not meet FDA requirements, now it is it may be tampered with by terrorist-shure seems like a scam to me.



posted on Aug, 12 2004 @ 10:32 AM
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Originally posted by mrmonsoon
Remember,
the federal government didn't want individuals as well as states getting their drugs from less expensive sources-preventing drug companies from raping Americans wallets-yea, the rich powewerful drug industry had nothing to do with that. First they tried-they may not be the same, then they tried it may not meet FDA requirements, now it is it may be tampered with by terrorist-shure seems like a scam to me.


Sure it's a scam. Create some fear for the people and keep the money in their pockets at the same time.



posted on Aug, 12 2004 @ 11:59 PM
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As someone who has often purchased necessary prescription drugs in Canada and Mexico, because of price constraints, I smell the FDA all over this latest "threat". The "threat" is to the drug industries profits.
Of course, it's possible that this form of "terrorism" could be used, but I find it highly unlikely. It is far more likely that this nicely dovetails with the administration and the FDA's desire that American citizens not have access to the cheaper drugs in Canada etc.
joey



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