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   H3'ed 3/12/15

FDA Complaint Filed to Require Country of Origin Labeling on Prescription Drugs

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In contrast, the FDA inspects 1,000 facilities in the U.S. a year, a pace that will allow it to cover all U.S. plants in 2 years.

One consequence of the lack of regulation has been a rising number of counterfeit drugs, said Peter Pitts, a former associate commissioner of the FDA.

One case, he said, involved counterfeit influenza medicine from China that was supposed to be Tamiflu, but contained none of its active ingredients.

Another involved counterfeit Viagra, the erectile dysfunction drug that contained a drywall ingredient. En Wang, the owner of a Houston company, was convicted in that case of conspiring with others in China to import the counterfeit Viagra.

"It's a nascent public health crisis and we shouldn't wait until we have bodies in the street," said Pitts, president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, a New York nonprofit group that promotes drug and food safety.

Besides the counterfeiting, there have been cases of drug contamination. In 2008, a contaminated ingredient from China showed up in heparin, a blood-thinning medicine that was linked to 149 deaths.

North China Pharmaceutical Group Corp. claims to be the second-largest producer of penicillin in the world. It says the Chinese government has made it a "top priority" that it become one of the top 500 companies in the world selling antibiotics, veterinary medications, pesticides and vitamins.

An expert on Chinese health at the Council on Foreign Relations, Yanzhong Huang, explained the big difference between Chinese and U.S. medicine safety. "U.S. vaccines are kept safe by supporting institutions such as "the market economy, democracy, media monitoring, civil society, and a business ethics code, plus inspections and regulations, severe punishment for violators and lawsuits by trial lawyers. Communist China doesn't tolerate any of those safety precautions."

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Chairman, Made in the USA Foundation, economist and lawyer, author of ten books and hundreds of articles.
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