From China to Panama, a Trail of Poisoned 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.

Poison !

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.


– This article is from the NY Times and they insist that folks have an ID and a PW in order to read their stuff. You can get these for free just by signing up. However, recently, a friend of mine suggested the website :arrow: as an alternative to having to do these annoying sign ups. Check it out. Thx Bruce S. for the tip.

– Not worried yet? Go back and read these earlier posts and see if you can squint and, perhaps, see a pattern beginning to emerge. The cause of problems like this is putting profit before all else including people. And the results of the problem may be your health or the health of someone you love.

– When people tell you that we should fully unleash the power of the market. When people tell you that the market can provide for any need that arises without the need or governmental intervention. When people tell you that we’ll all be better off if we give ourselves fully to the benefits of Globalization. When they tell you all of that, if it sounds reasonable to you, go back and read these articles again. Maybe you missed something.

– I’ve tagged this post with the categories of ‘Perfect Storm‘ and Culture – How not to do it‘ because any form of governance which sets profit before people is not in the best interest of the people so governed and governments and organizations with that orientation (read corporations) are contributing to the coming Perfect Storm by ignoring humanity’s peril for their profit (stupid and short-sighted as it might seem).

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