While the pharmaceutical industry enjoys a sterling reputation throughout much of the United States where its drugs and vaccines are hailed as health breakthroughs in mainstream media, the dark underbelly of the industry has been coming to light in recent years.
The industry spends more on lobbying than any other, and seems hell-bent on chasing after mega-profits, employing controversial techniques in order to do so.
Aside from the serious side effects many of its products produce (and the over $3.6 billion that has been paid out to vaccine injury victims since 1986), there is also the matter of quality control in the pharmaceutical business, as an estimated 80 percent of ingredients in American drugs come from overseas, many from places like India and China.
Vaccines also come from overseas, albeit mostly from European countries.
With such a “vast” supply chain according to USA Today, the risk for getting faulty ingredients is high, and such a case recently happened in China, where the U.S. pharmaceutical industry is heavily invested.
Report: Over 650,000 Doses of Faulty Vaccines Recalled in China
According to this report from the South China Morning Post,over 650,000 vaccines were recalled after being found to be ineffective, in this case batches of diptheria, whooping cough and tetanus vaccines.
The vaccines were said to pose no harm to health according to the state media, but the episode once again raises concerns as to the quality of the vaccines being developed.
So, how does this effect people in the United States, anyway? Chinese vaccines are not officially being used in the United States, but there are connections to know about for future reference.
In 2016, Chinese manufactured vaccines were officially “pre-qualified” by the World Health Organization to be shipped to over 150 low-income countries.
The term “pre-qualification” means that the WHO is so “confident in the quality, safety and effectiveness of vaccines that are made in China” that no other countries (including the U.S.) will test them for safety any longer.
More on the Massive Vaccine Recall
According to the report, some of the vaccines had already been shipped prior to the recall, and authorities are investigating the incident and stating that it could result in prosecutions.
The recalled vaccines were produced in three batches by two factories over the last year.
Most vaccines sold in the U.S. are made in France, Germany, and Belgium among other countries where the United States can provide more oversight into quality control.
However, considering the growing interest in the Chinese vaccine market, the situation in the Far East is well worth keeping an eye on in the coming years.
As the WHO has noted, it was the Clinton Foundation which helped pave the way for the WHO’s pre-qualification stamp of approval for shipping to other countries, which could expand the market even further for Chinese manufacturers in the near future.
“The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) has been working with Chinese suppliers to support their applications for WHO pre-qualification for several vaccine candidates for the last two years,” said Joshua Chu, CHAI’s Director of Vaccine Markets in 2016.
Where that will lead in the future is anyone’s guess, but previous incidents in China involving vaccines have led to further fears, including one where over 100 people were arrested for transporting expired vaccines.
Another incident led to the deaths of 17 kids including 8 infants who took Hepatitis B vaccines; the government denies they caused the deaths but the incident raised eyebrows over the safety and quality control of vaccines in the country.
Photo via Zhang Yanlin/China Daily