Saturday, August 28, 2010

US Military faces challenges from Chinese Knock-offs

As anyone who has served in combat knows, if a buddy is wounded, the first two things you need to do are make sure he can breathe and his bleeding is stopped.
For the past several years, troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq have used an advanced Combat-Application-Tourniquet (C-A-T) developed by Composite Resources in Rock Hill, S.C. The tourniquet features a nylon strap and a plastic rod to tighten the strap to stop bleeding.
The regulation C-A-T costs about $28. But about two years ago the Army detected cheap knock offs made by a Hong Kong company that had entered the military's supply chain in Afghanistan and Iraq. The imitation sold for about $8.50.
They're accurate looking fakes, right down to the label and national stock number.
But as Col. John Kragh, a doctor at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research at Fort Sam Houston, pointed out in June, the rod on the fake tourniquet "is bendable to a point where it cannot work right. It's like bending Gumby's arm."
He said the fake tourniquet could be fatal because it cannot stop bleeding. Kragh added a decentralized ordering system probably accounts for the presence of the fake tourniquets in the field, with low-level supply personnel ordering the knock offs over the Internet based on price.
The Defense Department issued a warning about the knock-offs in April, Kragh said, and the Food and Drug Administration this month put out a safety alert about the tourniquets, which are also used by civilian first responders.
The lesson here is a good deal isn't always that; it can even be deadly.

Poll Result - Which Geographical Manufacturing Area for Hemostatic Devices Causes Concern?


2007 Chinese Export Recall

The 2007 Chinese export recalls were a series of scandals involving tainted food and products exported from China, starting with tainted pet food imported from China to the United States that poisoned pets. The recalls sparked international concern that many products made in China do not meet minimum quality standards. Soon after, the US halted imports of seafood from China after tests detected the presence of drugs unapproved in the US.China has gone on record to admit that nearly a fifth of products made in China do not reach minimum standards. Also, some children's toys made in China were found to contain excessive levels of lead, prompting widespread concern. In 2006, shipments of cough syrup and other medicines, imported from China to Panama and laden with the toxin diethylene glycol, caused mass poisonings and killed 83 people.
On December 19, 2007, The US House of Representatives passed legislation (H.R. 4040) that would significantly amend the current U.S. safety establishment for consumer products imported from China.

2008 Chinese heparin and milk scandals

In March 2008, major recalls of heparin were announced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to contamination of the raw heparin stock imported from China.
The raw material for the recalled heparin batches was processed in China from pig's intestines by the American pharmaceutical firm Scientific Protein Laboratories. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration was quoted as stating that at least 81 deaths were believed linked to a raw heparin ingredient imported from the People's Republic of China, and that they had also received 785 reports of serious injuries associated with the drug’s use. According to the New York Times, "Problems with heparin reported to the agency include difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating and rapidly falling blood pressure that in some cases led to life-threatening shock."
Upon investigation of these adverse events by the FDA, academic institutions, and the involved pharmaceutical companies, the contaminant was identified as an "over-sulphated" derivative of chondroitin sulfate, a popular shellfish-derived supplement often used as a treatment forarthritis. Since over-sulphated chondroitin is not a naturally occurring molecule, costs a fraction of true heparin starting material, and mimics the in-vitro properties of heparin, the counterfeit was almost certainly intentional as opposed to an accidental lapse in manufacturing. The raw heparin batches were found to have been cut from 2-60% with the counterfeit substance, and motivation for the adulteration was attributed to a combination of cost effectiveness and a shortage of suitable pigs in China.
When the FDA conducted an inspection of Baxter's Chinese Heparin supplier, it found serious deficiencies at the facility which the FDA detailed in a warning letter.
The FDA has stated that it does not have the funds nor bear the responsibility to inspect on a regular basis overseas manufacturers of active pharmaceutical ingredients such as heparin.
In November 2008, the FDA seized eleven lots of heparin from Celsus Laboratories Inc., a manufacturer in Cincinnati, Ohio.

One year later, the 2008 Chinese milk scandal refers to a food safety incident in mainland People's Republic of China involving milk and infant formula which had been adulterated with melamine, an organic base combined with formaldehyde to form plastic. The result was catastrophic - By 22 September, nearly 53,000 illnesses, over 12,800 hospitalizations, and four infant deaths had been reported, caused by kidney stones and other renal failure.The chemical appeared to have been added to milk in order to cause it to appear to have a higher protein content. The same chemical was also involved in a series of pet food recalls in 2007. In November 2009, two individuals were executed for endangering public safety and producing and selling toxic food.

2009 Made in India scandal

In June 2009, the Nigerian Government Drug Regulatory Authority (NAFDAC) reported about the detention of a large consignment of fake anti-malarial generic pharmaceuticals labeled Made in India but produced in China. The Laboratory analysis conducted by NAFDAC revealed the drugs to be fake and had it not been intercepted, about 64,200 adults would have been affected. The consignment containing Maloxine and Amalar tablets, used for the treatment of Malaria, were valued at 32.1 million Naira and were produced, packed and shipped from China. After Indian Authorities took up the matter, The State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) of China was asked to investigate the matter[10]. In December 2009, 6 chinese traders were sentenced to death for their involvement.
In July 2009, customs officials in the South Indian port city of Chennai seized spurious cosmetics and mobile phone batteries worth Rs. 30 million, imported into India from Scheko in China. The 40 foot container was held up at the port for more than 75 days and opened on 13th July when the importer did not file a bill of entry. It was reported to contain over 187,000 batteries with Nokia holograms and stickers, and 126,000 cosmetic items including face packs, lipsticks and hair gels

No comments: