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The heparin tragedy has made Americans aware that Chinese-made products need to be inspected as thoroughly as products made in the United States. They must meet U.S. health and safety standards. More than eighty-one people in the United States between January 2007 and March 2008 have deaths linked to tainted heparin from China. One man recently lost both his wife and son due to the drug. Both victims had a genetic kidney disorder and were using heparin since it is a blood thinner used in the dialysis they needed to stay alive.


            Though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has borne the brunt of the criticism against the drug, it is also the responsibility of the manufacturers who contract out to these low-cost Chinese suppliers to provide the necessary protection to consumers. In the case of heparin, the manufacturer Baxter International bought heparin from a Chinese manufacturer. This Chinese manufactured drug contained a contaminant that mimics heparin, yet costs 99% less. The product was not properly inspected due to an FDA mix-up, which led to the drug injuring many Americans. When the Chinese plant was finally inspected, the FDA found so many problems it blocked exports to the United States.


            Baxter argues that even with a rigorous inspection, it still would not have detected the bogus ingredient. However, the company, like the FDA, could have discovered many other problems the Chinese plant had incurred, such as the plant not having control over its raw-materials suppliers.

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