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China’s Version of the FDA—Tough Place to Work


China has certainly suffered its share of setbacks in the export of products to the rest of the world. They have allowed tainted toothpaste to leave their country and deadly dog & cat food to be exported. Most recently, it was discovered that Chinese tires were manufactured without including the material that binds the belts together.

China’s response to this event has been essentially two-fold. They blame foreign media for over blowing the whole thing. They especially point to the West’s media for concentrating on what they claim are isolated incidents:

“Some foreign media, especially those based in the U.S., have wantonly reported on so called unsafe Chinese products. They are turning white to black,” said Li Changjiang, minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

If we consider the numbers of recalled products in the U.S., one might agree that we live in a crystal palace” and, perhaps, throwing rocks in this instance is a bit hypocritical. Our FDA allows the marketing of products repeatedly that are later found to be dangerous or not to meet expectations. These problems often stem from manufacturers’ failure to fully test products or to misrepresent test findings, but those faulty products still end up in the stream of commerce.

When faced with product problems, the Chinese government investigated and they represent findings of corruption in their version of the FDA. In the U.S., the response to findings like that might be to form a committee to investigate. In China, their response to product defect and corruption findings? They executed the former head of its drug regulation agency. I would say China’s drug agency is a much tougher place to work than the FDA.

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