Skip to comments.China's Role In Supply Of Drug Is Under Fire
Posted on 02/24/2008 6:36:27 AM PST by JACKRUSSELL
(YUANLOU, China) -- In a small, damp factory here, blood-smeared men wring pulp from pig intestines, then heat it in concrete vats.
The activity at Yuan Intestine & Casing Factory is the first step in the poorly regulated process of making raw heparin, the main ingredient in a type of blood-thinning medicine that in recent days has come under suspicion in the deaths of four Americans.
More than half the world's heparin comes from China. The chemical is often extracted from pig entrails in small factories -- many as rudimentary as this one, which also manufactures sausage casings from intestines. The heparin eventually ends up in drugs used world-wide by patients having surgery or who need dialysis.
Heparin goes through extensive processing in its journey from abattoir to IV bag. Nevertheless, because some of it originates in tiny Chinese factories like these, if there's a problem with the final medication, it can be nearly impossible to trace the raw heparin back to the source, the pigs whose tissue was used to make it.
The lack of a well-documented supply chain for medicines such as heparin is a problem that has come under the spotlight with last week's announcement of four deaths and some 350 allergic reactions among patients who received heparin sold in the U.S. by Baxter International Inc. Yesterday the Food and Drug Administration, which is trying to pinpoint the cause of the deaths, inspected a heparin-production facility in China.
David Strunce, the president of Scientific Protein Laboratories, Baxter's main supplier of heparin, says that the Yuan Intestine & Casing Factory isn't in his company's supply chain. He says Scientific Protein can't trace its supplies in China in as much detail as it can in the U.S. "We're all dealing with the China collection system," Mr. Strunce says......
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
The first steps to produce crude heparin, the main ingredient in an anti-clotting medicine, often take place in small factories across China -- many of them primitive. At left, bare-handed workers at Yuan Intestine & Casing Factory, in a small farming village in Shandong province, untangle and flush pig intestines that will be used to make the medication. (Gordon Fairclough)
The men wring pulp from pig intestines and heat it in open cement vats. After further processing by more sophisticated plants, the chemical is made into intravenous drugs given to patients around the world having surgery or patients who need kidney dialysis or blood transfusions. (Gordon Fairclough)
The process for getting raw heparin is rather simple. First, the company picks up barrels of pig intestines from slaughterhouses. (Gordon Fairclough)
Workers use a machine to wring the pulp from the inside of the intestines. (Gordon Fairclough)
Since mid-2006, China's pig herds have suffered serious outbreaks of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome. In theory, sick animals are supposed to be rejected, but in practice, enforcement can sometimes be lax. (Gordon Fairclough)
And I just ate breakfast....
The only reason Baxter was able to get away with this sort of negligence is because the penalties for using drug components of unknown quality, regardless of their country of origin, are far too lenient, or the enforcement of such laws in this country is far too lax.
I wonder how many Muslims use this drug or Muslim docs who handle it. hmmm.
what was that quote about a king speaking english to his troops, french to his mistress, and german to his horse?
Thanks for the ping, JACKRUSSELL. Just about everything you share with us should be a FOX NEWS ALERT! Thank you for doing all the leg work.
BOYCOTT BEIJING OLYMPICS 2000.
Oh my! All I can say is EEEWWWWW! That is disgusting.
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