Tainted drugs the other side of the Chinese equation

Not having it both ways in the cost-savings game. Big Pharma goes and runs clinical trials with the Chinese poor at a fraction of the cost of running them in the US. US companies save tons of money, and Chinese medical staff appreciate the training they end up receiving during such trials.

But the other side of the coin is that saving money can introduce risks. Chinese doctors are often so overstretched they don’t have time to do clinical trials well. Inadequate drug testing can lead to importing impure drugs like the tainted heparin that recently killed 80-plus people in the US. Workloads that are too high facilitate mistakes in any country. The margin for error increases all around.

So, are we going to halt the process of globalization of the drug and clinical trial practices? Hardly. It seems it’s one of those times in history when, as in previous ages, medical science in the cities and medical centers may be discovering new approaches and solutions, but the benefits don’t filter out to the rural areas until much later. There will be cost benefits and lives saved, but there may be surprising losses as well.