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.
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