90 Miles From Tyranny : China Syndrome: our surprising dependence on China for our prescription drugs

Sunday, February 23, 2020

China Syndrome: our surprising dependence on China for our prescription drugs



There’s been a quiet but dramatic shift in where we get our prescription drugs. We are increasingly dependent on China. And that could be a major national security risk. Healthcare author Rosemary Gibson makes a convincing case in the new book: China R-X: Exposing the Risks of America's Dependence on China for Medicine.

Sharyl Attkisson: In the 1990's, the US, Europe, and Japan manufactured 90 percent of the key ingredients from medicine and vitamins. But now China is the largest global supplier. Why the change?

Rosemary Gibson: The change is because when we started buying generic drugs, which are terrific because they can be a lot less costly than brand name drugs, we had to find a cheaper way to make them. And China was more than willing with its lower labor costs to be a place where companies could buy those key ingredients.

Sharyl Attkisson: We're talking about antibiotics, chemotherapies antidepressants. What other kinds of things?

Rosemary Gibson: Well, now, the generic drugs that we're buying from China and Chinese companies in China include blood pressure medicines, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, epilepsy, antidepressants the whole range of generic drugs now that we are importing from China.

Sharyl Attkisson: Do doctors know about this and take this into account when they're prescribing?

Rosemary Gibson: Doctors have no clue, doctors and patients, no one really knows about this big shift in where our medicines are coming from.

Sharyl Attkisson: What are some of the overview problems that the FDA finds when they do look at plants in China?

Rosemary Gibson: I'll give you one example. There's a very large company in China that was making 29 different drugs for products for the United States. The FDA went in and found systemic data manipulation. The FDA went in because there were lots of consumer complaints about the products. There were particles in them and other things. And so the FDA banned 29 of those drugs. But because we're so dependent on China and dependent on that company the FDA had to exempt 14 of those products from its own ban just so we wouldn't have a shortage. We're talking about antibiotics. That's how dependent we are as a country.

Sharyl Attkisson: It sounds kind of outrageous that you're saying the FDA banned products for safety reasons and then lifted the ban on some of them because there would have been a shortage?

Rosemary Gibson: Exactly right. We're talking about chemotherapy products and we need chemotherapy and how many people know this?

Sharyl Attkisson:

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