Massive counterfeiting operations are a victimless crime... but don't tell that to the families of these folks.
Toxic syrup has figured in at least eight mass poisonings around the world in the past two decades. Researchers estimate that thousands have died. In many cases, the precise origin of the poison has never been determined.This is pretty serious business. You can't read the label on a bottle of cough syrup and see where individual ingredients are manufactured.
But records and interviews show that in three of the last four cases it was made in China, a major source of counterfeit drugs.
Panama is the most recent victim. Last year, government officials there unwittingly mixed diethylene glycol into 260,000 bottles of cold medicine — with devastating results.Most people are familiar with China's massive illegal trade in Hollywood DVD knock-offs, but what about replacement parts for passenger airlines, or in this case, chemicals used to make pharmaceuticals...
Families have reported 365 deaths from the poison, 100 of which have been confirmed so far. With the onset of the rainy season, investigators are racing to exhume as many potential victims as possible before bodies decompose even more.
Panama’s death toll leads directly to Chinese companies that made and exported the poison as 99.5 percent pure glycerin.When we lived in the city, my wife used to buy bottled made-in-China soy-sauce right down in Chinatown. Until, that is, I read an article about heavy-metal contamination in that particular product.
Beyond Panama and China, toxic syrup has caused mass poisonings in Haiti, Bangladesh, Argentina, Nigeria and twice in India.
Looks like being aware and hyper-vigilant may not be enough.
FROM COMMENTS: "Holy Economic Surrender Batman!!!"
Last year, the US ran up a $818 billion trade deficit. Around a third of that deficit was due to trade with China. Overall, the bilateral US-China trade deficit is running at about 2 percent of GDP a year.