Tag Archives: medicine

from China with death

and this, dear ones, is why i make my own medicines from the plants and weeds that grow just beyond my doorstep.

Trade in this global world we live in will be our undoing, unless global warming gets us first. We cannot expect that others, with profits at our expense, will care what it costs us. What does a clever tailor with a gambling habit care how many lives are ruined by substituting sweet poison for glycerin? I find it ironic that this exact substance was the beginnings of the FDA in this country. Here we go again?

——–from the NYTimes——–

From China to Panama, a Trail of Poisoned Medicine

IN CHINA At least 18 people, most of them in Guangdong Province, died in a month last year after they ingested contaminated medicine.

The kidneys fail first. Then the central nervous system begins to misfire. Paralysis spreads, making breathing difficult, then often impossible without assistance. In the end, most victims die.

Many of them are children, poisoned at the hands of their unsuspecting parents.

The syrupy poison, diethylene glycol, is an indispensable part of the modern world, an industrial solvent and prime ingredient in some antifreeze.

It is also a killer. And the deaths, if not intentional, are often no accident.

Over the years, the poison has been loaded into all varieties of medicine — cough syrup, fever medication, injectable drugs — a result of counterfeiters who profit by substituting the sweet-tasting solvent for a safe, more expensive syrup, usually glycerin, commonly used in drugs, food, toothpaste and other products.

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. 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. 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.

Forty-six barrels of the toxic syrup arrived via a poison pipeline stretching halfway around the world. Through shipping records and interviews with government officials, The New York Times traced this pipeline from the Panamanian port of Colón, back through trading companies in Barcelona, Spain, and Beijing, to its beginning near the Yangtze Delta in a place local people call “chemical country.”

The counterfeit glycerin passed through three trading companies on three continents, yet not one of them tested the syrup to confirm what was on the label. Along the way, a certificate falsely attesting to the purity of the shipment was repeatedly altered, eliminating the name of the manufacturer and previous owner. As a result, traders bought the syrup without knowing where it came from, or who made it. With this information, the traders might have discovered — as The Times did — that the manufacturer was not certified to make pharmaceutical ingredients.

An examination of the two poisoning cases last year — in Panama and earlier in China — shows how China’s safety regulations have lagged behind its growing role as low-cost supplier to the world. It also demonstrates how a poorly policed chain of traders in country after country allows counterfeit medicine to contaminate the global market.

Last week, the United States Food and Drug Administration warned drug makers and suppliers in the United States “to be especially vigilant” in watching for diethylene glycol. The warning did not specifically mention China, and it said there was “no reason to believe” that glycerin in this country was tainted. Even so, the agency asked that all glycerin shipments be tested for diethylene glycol, and said it was “exploring how supplies of glycerin become contaminated.”

China is already being accused by United States authorities of exporting wheat gluten containing an industrial chemical, melamine, that ended up in pet food and livestock feed. The F.D.A. recently banned imports of Chinese-made wheat gluten after it was linked to pet deaths in the United States.

Beyond Panama and China, toxic syrup has caused mass poisonings in Haiti, Bangladesh, Argentina, Nigeria and twice in India.

In Bangladesh, investigators found poison in seven brands of fever medication in 1992, but only after countless children died. A Massachusetts laboratory detected the contamination after Dr. Michael L. Bennish, a pediatrician who works in developing countries, smuggled samples of the tainted syrup out of the country in a suitcase. Dr. Bennish, who investigated the Bangladesh epidemic and helped write a 1995 article about it for BMJ, formerly known as the British Medical Journal, said that given the amount of medication distributed, deaths “must be in the thousands or tens of thousands.”
————

there’s more…much more at the link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/06/world/americas/06poison.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&th&emc=th


when to go to the doctor

Recent events as well as my foray into the world of doctors has got me to thinking about how we rely on the medical establishment to fix us and what it means to actually be broken. Over the past several decades, most people in this country have come to rely on doctors more often and for more and more problems. I don’t want to get into the politics of this here. For now it’s enough to say that our current ideas of what is healthy and what isn’t has turned health care in this country into a massive industry with the power to control much of our lives from cradle to coffin.

and i don’t like it

Doctoring, as with most things in the 21st century, is highly impersonal and disconnected from nature and the natural order of things. Our society has little tolerance for illness of any sort and if there’s so much of a hint that an illness is rooted in or even influenced by emotion, you might as well just give up the idea that you have a say in how you will be treated. No, no “options” for you. You will be analyzed, medicated and if you don’t do as your told, institutionalized for your own good. Check your freedom at the clinic door.

When a child is born in today’s modern world, before she is suckled she is tested and given a score. Apgar scores are happily announced along with sex and weight as if this were a grand accomplishment. She will be tested, scored and ranked through every stage of growth. Throughout her life she will be dictated to by doctors, schools and government programs forcing vaccinations, drugs to control acne, weight, behavior and mood. She will have her teeth straightened, hormones adjusted, wrinkles erased, and tummy and titties tucked and tweaked. And when she’s ready to die, she will be denied dignity and her body embalmed and vaulted against decay.

We need to come to grips with this incredible mass denial of our nature. We will not live better through chemistry and if we hope to truly understand what is normal we need to get back to the true nature of things. To nature itself. One way to do this is to redefine our relationship with the health care industry, taking back our power, and maybe even work on our personal and collective definition of what is normal and healthy.

With this in mind, I’d like to offer my personal quick guide to when it is necessary to enlist the aid of a doctor or other health care services, because, they do have their place and when restricted to the things they do well, we all benefit greatly. Mainstream medicine is really really good at dealing with things that are broken. Doctors and hospitals are at their best when dealing with emergency situations and acute conditions. They suck at chronic ailments, non-life threatening conditions and any sort of long-term health care.

So here is my general guide on when to see a doctor.

* Emergencies such as: heart attack, stroke, shock, anaphylaxis or other uncontrollable allergic reactions.
* Accidents which result in trauma such as head trauma, broken bones, gaping wounds, massive bleeding, etc.
* Animal or human bites, mauling.
* Fevers over 104 degrees.

When to see a psychologist/psychiatrist:
* suicidal without good reason (i.e., when it is not a quality of life situation resulting from terminal illness).

Minor or common non-life threatening illnesses are best left to the wisdom of our own bodies to heal. We can help ourselves and others with comfort care–teas, soups, soft blankets, kind words, kisses on the forehead. Minor accidents can be taken care of by cleaning the wound, applying heat or cold, healing salves (best if made by you or an herbalist or wise woman).

Chronic conditions are best left to common sense, herbalists, wise women, body workers (massage therapists, reiki practitioners, acupuncture/acupressure, etc.). If all this fails to help and drastic measures are needed (i.e., drugs, surgery) then by all means, avail yourself of what is out there in mainstream medicine, but this should be your last resort, not your first.

There’s one thing I have not address and that is cancer. There is so much mythology, fear and loathing that comes with cancer that it is important for each of us faced with this particular dance to make her/his own decision as how to approach treatment. There is a wealth of information out there but very little of it not under the control of the AMA and pharmaceutical companies, but there are alternative approaches that can be used along with or instead of chemo, radiation and surgery. You just have to decide for yourself what is best for you.

But then, that is true of all things. What we need to be reminding ourselves of is that there are different approaches and we don’t have to give up our rights and our power to deal with our ills.

One last thing…

It is NORMAL to feel sick, unhappy, unloved, grief-stricken, or downright miserable for no fuckin reason at times. I don’t know where the notion came from that we must always be happy and satisfied, but it’s a really dumb thing to think. Our society does not want us to feel bad (emotionally or physically) and when we do feel bad, we are supposed to get over it within a few days or maybe a week or two, but then that’s it. Back to happy. Well, it ain’t so and it is disastrous to deny our sadness, anger or grief. There’s a reason people suffer anxiety attacks and depression–it’s time to slow down or stop everything we’re doing so that we can heal. We need to not fear the shadow side of things. We need to move through it just like we need to move through the stages of a common cold.


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