Cheap At The Price

In our rush to save money, we often end up causing ourselves far bigger problems.  Here’s one example:

A common blood pressure drug has been recalled worldwide and production has stopped after it was found to contain a cancer-causing chemical.

The drug Valsartan, made in a factory in China, was recalled in 22 countries including the UK and the US earlier in July, but the warning is now worldwide.

Investigators found a chemical used in rocket fuel, called N-Nitrosodimethylamine, had contaminated the drug’s production at Zhejiang Huahai, a Chinese supplier which ships the medicine worldwide.

N-Nitrosodimethylamine is thought to be carcinogenic, meaning it could cause cancer in humans, so production of the pills has stopped.

China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission said yesterday that the drug must not be used for diagnosis or treatment, and the pills have already been banned in the UK and US.

Experts say the contamination could date back as far as 2012, when the company changed its manufacturing process.

The main manufacturer in China is Zhejiang Huahai, which was founded in 1989 and listed on the Shanghai stock exchange in 2003, was one of the first Chinese companies to get drugs approved in the US market.

Let’s hear it for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration…

Overall, more than two-thirds of all active drug ingredients originate in China and India, industry experts estimate, with China accounting for the lion’s share.

The revelation that the problem with Valsartan likely dates back to changes in manufacturing processes at Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical six years ago suggests many patients could potentially have been exposed to cancer risk.

I’ve been taking Valsartan every day for well over ten years.  At a rough guess, that’s around four thousand pills.

8 comments

  1. This, IMHO, takes us back to the “basic tasks government is assigned to perform” issue which, increasingly, is tied to “WTF would you buy anything from China?”

    I’ve seen several instances where very detailed and precise negotiations were conducted with Chinese outfits, including extremely specific contract terms, delivered early initial production product complied with all requirements, followed by a segment of regular production also in compliance, after which nothing delivered was even close.

    I don’t want to condemn every Chinese supplier, but enough of them engage in, shall we say, “operating under flexible requirements and obligations,” that I’m increasingly suspicious of AFT (Any F******g Thing) with Chinese heritage being of sufficient quality that I’m willing to trust it.

    I consider it well beyond a travesty that a U.S. supplier – of anything, much less human-consumable items – would be any portion of less than fully open about degree of content of that product that comes from China. The problem that extends beyond that is that a U.S outfit may have positioned itself, for various reasons, that non-Chinese alternatives are not readily available; that approaches a national security issue of the highest order, one that we seem all too eager to ignore.

    This is not a “tariffs issue” it’s an issue that is so far beyond basic trade issues that, to my mind, approaches absolute and total import bans on an extremely wide range of products and materiel, if not every damn thing that originates from there.

    1. The trouble of it is that it’s now fairly impossible to open any kind of manufacturing plants in the USA.
      Should someone try to open the factory, the environmentalist would have a hissy about endangering the habitat of the Slightly More Beige Beetle. The Unions would be demanding full wages and benefits for the janitorial staff. SJW’s would demand proper quotas of half-Inuit transsexual quadriplegics and restrooms for all 57 varieties of gender. The EPA would demand fines due to di-hydrous monoxide emissions. The whackos would be protesting because someone mis-pronouned one of the half-Inuit transsexual quadriplegics as “zim” instead of “xim” (and is filing a multi-million dollar lawsuit because of PTSD).

      And to top it all off, they have a hard time hiring because the only people applying are dopers. The millennials would rather vote themselves relief from their $400,000 student loans then actually “degrade” themselves by working in a factory.

      At least in China/Mexico/Indonesia one can slip the local government honcho a few bucks to make the problems go away.

  2. “Used in rocket fuel.” Right. This is the “used in yoga mats” thing again.

    That doesn’t mean it isn’t a carcinogen and you shouldn’t be eating it. But when you see fabulist shit like that, you should suspect the entirety of the reporting in that story, because the reporter is a hysterical incompetent.

    It’s also found in milk, water, smoked sausages, ham, etc etc. The question is the dosage, and I suspect that if there is a recall, it’s pretty high. That doesn’t tell us how long it has been high. Also, the main worry I would have is that it causes liver damage, and I’m a hell of a lot more worried about overtaxing my liver than cancer. My liver works hard enough already.

  3. They tried to poison American children with lead painted toys
    Melanine in powdered milk and pet food anyone? China provides…
    Then they tried to wreck us with faulty tires (tread separation)…
    There are horror stories about chinese sources seafood, how they are fed and processed…
    Toxic toothpaste? Straight from China…
    I’ve certainly paid the price for buying chinese made tools (a socket or wrench breaking under load can hurt a fellow). Sadly there’s often not a choice in the current market.

    Now they’re going after our bloggers. Where will it end?

  4. China has a number of inherent problems today. Some can eventually be addressed, such as their massive influx of peasants into the manufacturing world in their urban areas. Eventually training and basic life knowledge will catch up with them. Hopefully.
    Others are intractable, the major one being cultural. I see no signs they have any concept of ethics in business, and suspect that this impacts their personal lives as well. This is not something you can fix with a few classes in school. This sort of thing is built into their everyday world, like water for fish. Frankly, I don’t think it IS fixable. Not in any usable timeframe. We’re talking generations to attempt to change the way the people think. Not going to happen. It’s not practical.
    The only ways to apply ethics to any group of them is using a really big stick, and an associated carrot. The problem is you get inconsistent results no matter how you try to work it. It’s not worth the effort.

    The end result is that the Chinese are not reliable, or trustworthy, and trying to arrange things to circumvent this cultural mentality for a business venture is fraught with peril, and mostly not worth the effort or time. Any business making any portion of their product in China is cutting their own throat. It is just a question of how quickly the damage will become apparent.

    All those business people who sold production facilities to them, like steel mills, I think should be stood in front of a wall and shot. As close to treason as makes no nevermind.

    I buy no food that any portion originates from China, as it can’t be trusted. I didn’t know they were also making drug components, sigh…

  5. “I’ve been taking Valsartan every day for well over ten years. At a rough guess, that’s around four thousand pills.”

    4000? Damn. Well, that just goes to show, when you take chinese pills, in 15 minutes, you just want another.

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