Sunday, May 06, 2007

From China to Panama, a Trail of Poisoned Medicine


The New York Times carried an article about poisoned medicine. It can be found here. This incident really struck close to home. The person who was managing the diocesan camp grounds died as a result of taking the tainted medicine, and a member of my parish is still suffering and quite ill from taking the medicine. As soon as the Caja de Seguro Social announced which medicines were contaminated, we printed the list in our Sunday bulletins.
This incident is another example of how greed kills. The chemical distributor in China was interested in cutting costs and making even larger profits. I'm not sure if the Seguro was cutting costs to keep the costs low for its customers or if they were trying to make a profit, too. Since they had the chemical for two years before it was used, I suspect they were interested in keeping costs down for the consumers. The result was death for many people. I'm proud of the quick work the doctors did in isolating the cause, but so many people died. At first we all thought it was some new plague spreading through the Seguro hospital. Learning that it was the medicine didn't make things any better, but we were all relieved that it wasn't a contagious disease. I just hope that this teaches the Panamanian government to be strict in enforcing laws and in guaranteeing the quality of the medicines made for the Caja Seguro Social. Like many Central American countries, we suffer from a kind of "the Business Man Is Always Right" style of capitalism in which there is very little enforcement of laws protecting consumers. I hope that the U.S. government comes to its senses in this regard, too. The Bush administration has adopted the same attitude and the food supply in the U.S. has become dangerous and unsafe, too.

8 comments:

John said...

Padre, I read the article in the NY Times this a.m. but had no idea it had affected folks in la Iglesia Episcopal. I appreciated your comments about the place of plain old-fashioned GREED in the world economy, and the need for governments to keep an eagle eye out for all of us -- to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Juanuchis said...

I was stunned myself when I read an article in the Washington Post about how much of the U.S. food supply is imported from China, and now finding it to be tainted as was the pet food. Scary. Makes me think about becoming a crazy survivalist.

Pisco Sours said...

God rest the souls of those who died of man's greed, and send his justice and mercy on those who perpetrate this horror.

On a semi-related note, involving food rather than medicine (but no less deadly for all that, since obesity and related health problems are on the rise worldwide), I also recommend to you this NYTimes article on the U.S. agricultural bill. Or, "Why are soda and Twinkies cheaper than fruits, vegetables, and juice?"

Nina said...

We are urged to be afraid of possible terrorists and poisoned by the greedy. Makes you wonder what the real dangers are.

Prayers for all affected by this horror.

Anonymous said...

Greed. The Greed brothers are a International Terrorist Organization headed by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their like and will go to any length to protect their "Constitutional" right to deceive and manipulate fellow human beings.

Eileen said...

This makes me feel sick inside.

Ugh.

When money becomes the idol, we are all doomed.

Jane R said...

I thought of you when I read that story in the NY Times. And now it turns out it affected you and yours even more closely than I knew.

We have been meditating on food and international relations in my course on "Health, Spirituality, and Justice" this semester. It has just ended (graduation was Sat.) or I'd have brought this to class today. There was an excellent "Day to Day" program on NPR just now (will try to find the link for audio if it exists so you can hear it) with Michael Pollan (of The Omnivore's Dilemma fame) on yet more food security and health issues -- in this case the link between US government policy and the epidemic of obesity among poor people in this country.

It just goes on and on and on...

The more systemic analysis the better. But meanwhile and also, kyrie eleison. People -and other creatures of earth- suffer and die.

Lauren+ said...

Padre,
You and your parishioners are in my prayers. It is hard for those who have not spent a season living in Latin America do not understand how precarious it is medically and food wise.

I know you are not there because you are brave. You are there because you are called. But sometimes when you can't trust even what you put in your mouth it makes life quite precious. My days as a missionary are precious to me, too. I learned so much about what it means to trust in God.
Lauren+

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