A classic Wall Street Journal anecdote preceding China’s former top drug official’s downfall. Also a typical sad story of a whistle blower’s price paid for justice: doing odd jobs after years of seeking justice and petitions to various government agencies. (photo: seized fake drugs via 163.com)
In 1995, a Chinese drug maker was developing a version of clarithromycin, a popular antibiotic used mainly to treat respiratory infections. But to begin selling the medication, the company, Zhongxiang Kangshen Medicine Co. (‰∏≠ÊπòÂ∫∑Á•ûËçØ‰∏ö), needed approval from China’s drug regulator.
So Luo Yongqing, director of Zhongxiang’s research department, called his top employees to a meeting. According to Gao Chun, a research scientist who attended, Mr. Luo tossed a box of antibiotics made by Abbott Laboratories on the table and told the scientists to use the American drug maker’s pills in their application for approval from the country’s drug watchdog. Zhongxiang’s own drug wasn’t ready yet, Mr. Gao says, but the company didn’t think that should get in the way.
A short time later, Mr. Gao stopped working for Zhongxiang and launched a decade-long fight against the drug and against government regulators, whom he accuses of taking bribes from his former employer to look the other way. The company won approval for the drug and has been selling it ever since. [Full Text, for subscribers only]
– Also China’s Growing Epidemic of Deadly Fake Drugs by the New York Times