May 29, 2007

Corrupt Drug Regulator Sentenced to Death

Zheng Xiaoyu, who served as director of China’s Food & Drug Administration from its founding in 1998 until mid 2005, was sentenced to death after investigation showed that he had accepted bribes to allow the selling of what he knew to be dangerous drugs that killed at least 10 people.

Our media treats this like it was another example of Chinese excess.

But you have to ask yourself: why does our legal system land so heavily on the person who shoots a gun or drives a getaway car, while giving a pass to the executive who approves the fraudulent study used to approve the dangerous drug or who decides to hide the in-house data that shows his company's drug is causing people to die unnecessarily?

The person who has a heart attack after taking Arcoxia is just as dead as the person shot by a drug dealer. The person who dies of ketoacidosis caused by Zyprexa is just as dead as a person stabbed in a parking garage.

But despite a long history of drug company executives approving the submission of fraudulent research data and constructing well-financed campaigns to get doctors to misprescribe dangerous drugs with fatal side effects, even after these effects were known to the drug company, there is not a single case of a drug company executive going to jail for the deaths he has caused.

By the same token, the individual physicians who received huge sums from drug companies to put their names on research papers that had been prepared by drug company marketing departments--studies with which the well-paid doctors had no involvement except to lend their prestige when it was time to publish them--- have not been pursued for fraud, either, though this practice was endemic in the medical industry until very recently when some brave people in the medical community finally blew the whistle on the practice.

Again, why is it not fraud to take money for putting your name on a study you did not conduct?

As long as our system allows people to get away with murders when they cause these murders when acting for a corporation, and as long as the people who are corrupted by these entitities are held blameless for the results of their collusion, drug companies will continue to lie, bribe, and subvert regulators, physicians, and anyone else who will ensure that their billions of dollars of profits continue to roll in.

The Chinese are sacrificing their corrupt official here because they fear they're going to lose the billions their food and drug industry currently earn them around the world. One rather yearns to see just the tiniest sign that maybe someone in the U.S. might be held accountable for the venal corrupt behavior that pervades our drug regulation system. A month in prison would be a huge improvement over the current scheme where the executive who knowingly approves strategies that result in the unnecessary deaths of thousands retires with tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars that he earned from his actions.

3 comments:

Anna in San Diego, CA said...

Excellent "to do" suggestions for anyone taking any medication. Far too few people do this. For those who feel they don't know how to find out more, you've laid it all out for them. No excuses anymore.

Anonymous said...

Seen this one?
http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=3225419

Anonymous said...

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