A global manhunt launched by Johnson & Johnson has tracked to China counterfeit versions of an at- home diabetes test used by 10 million Americans to take sensitive measurements of blood-sugar levels. Potentially dangerous copies of the OneTouch Test Strip sold by J&J’s LifeScan unit surfaced in American and Canadian pharmacies last year, according to federal court documents unsealed in June. New Brunswick, New Jersey-based J&J, the world’s largest consumer-health products maker, learned of the counterfeit tests after 15 patients complained of faulty results last September.
Tipped off by J&J, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a nationwide consumer alert in October without disclosing the link to China. While no injuries were reported, inaccurate test readings may lead a diabetic to inject the wrong amount of insulin, causing harm or death, the agency said. Fake medicines are a $32 billion global business, says the World Health Organization, and the FDA says it ran 54 counterfeit investigations in 2006, almost double the year before.
The court documents reveal, also for the first time, a worldwide distribution chain discovered in the past year by investigators hired by Johnson & Johnson. The trail, initiated by consumer complaints to a LifeScan hotline, first led detectives to 700 pharmacies where the products were sold, then to eight U.S. wholesalers, and then to two importers, one in the U.S., who was tracked down in a hotel room in Las Vegas, and another in Canada.
Records seized from the importers show the counterfeit strips were bought from Henry Fu and his company, Halson Pharmaceutical, which according to its Internet site is based in Shanghai.
This is what totally unrestrained, unregulated capitalism leads to, people. (Please, don’t insult me by saying they’re communist, aight?)
China’s government needs to get their act together. These incidents are piling up to the point that the most recent forum exchance in my Sunday paper was over whether we should stop importing food from China. The testing and regulation over there is getting ridiculous and eventually even the cheaper products won’t be worth it to companies losing massive sales over having China involved in any way in manufacturing.
It may be completely unfair to broad brush a whole nation for a few incidents, but we all know that the government over there is having a very hard time regulating anything. They’ve admitted it.
I actually hope they CAN get it together, as I am all for a more global economy and China is a big part of that.
Of course you don’t. I don’t think the vast majority of people who support capitalism want it to be completely unregulated and unrestrained to the point where people can carry out criminal acts like counterfeiting life saving drugs.
Good luck with that. You apparently have way more disposable income than I do. I think you’ll find that about 90% of everything you need is either made in China or twice as expensive.
Personally, I think people are tending to make a little bit too much of this. It’s not like we don’t have almost daily recalls for products made in the US as well (including lead poisoning dangers in kids toys).
Wouldn’t have helped with these tests, they were apparently perfect forgeries. They copied every detail of the packaging, it was only the fictitious lot numbers on the boxes that let them get tracked down.