Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on August 13, 2007
Now that the Chinese government has executed the former top food and drug regulator, Beijing wants to show the rest of the world that we don’t need to worry so much about all of the scandals plaguing the country’s pharmaceutical industry. Everything, apparently, will soon be under control. At least, that’s what the State Food and Drug Administration would have us believe. Last week the SFDA announced that the China’s central and local governments would pump $1.2 billion in additional spending to boost oversight of Chinese pharmaceutical industry.
However, according to the Xinhua report of SFDA spokeswoman Yan Jianying’s press conference on August 8, the government’s priorities seem a bit misplaced. Says Xinhua: “Yan listed several projects for which the investment will be used, including the renovation of 16 testing centers of imported drugs.” Imported drugs? What? The worst scandals are the ones involving counterfeit or otherwise illegal drugs made in China, and as part of its big revamp the SFDA is going to crack down on all of those bogus pills made by, of course, foreigners. Interesting argument.
To be fair, the SFDA does have other items on its agenda, including renovations of centers that test locally made drugs and medical devices. According to Yan, “With this investment, China will comprehensively improve the infrastructure and technology for food and drug administration in three to five years.” No word from her on what Chinese buying locally made drugs are supposed to do between now and then.