Should we execute our drug watchdogs?
May 31st 2007, 12:46
The Chinese have given us many things over the years. There's wall building, the recipe for chop suey, and those neat jackets without collars.
Now they're teaching us how to treat our drug regulators.
The Chinese authorities have decided to execute Zheng Xiaoyu, the head of their food and drug agency, after he accepted bribes from drug companies to speed through the licensing of their products. One antibiotic approved by Zheng's agency killed 10 people last year, and there were 34,000 food-related illnesses in 2005.
Zheng was found guilty by a Beijing court of putting his and his family's welfare ahead of that of the population by accepting the bribes, which amounted to 6.5 yuan ($848,000 or lb433,000). He was appointed as the first director of China's food and drug administration in 1998 following a career as a pharmaceutical company executive.
Commentators see the extreme measure as window dressing in order to restore confidence in China's exports. Petfood shipped to the States recently was contaminated with melamine, a chemical used in industrial glues, fire retardants and fertilisers. As a result, it killed a dozen or so family pets, and the chemical found its way into the food chain, affecting around 3 million chickens that were sold in stores across the USA.
Zheng's misdemeanours are as nothing compared to our drug regulators,.of course, whose main quest seems to be to release dangerous and unproven drugs onto the market while accepting funding from the pharmaceutical industry.
We reckon a public hanging or three might make them remember who they're supposed to be working for.
Other Bloggers discussing this:
- Typerion: Conviction of China's former FDA chief includes death
- Lost Laowai China Blog: The Binge and Purge of Chinese Politics
- Health Spectator: And we think we've got it bad!
- Richard Spencer, Telegraph.co.uk: A very final sentence
- SteveSight: The Ripple Effect