Friday, March 14, 2008

Heparin: The Road to China has Potholes

On November 2, 2007, I underwent open heart surgery. During the surgery, I was administered the drug Heparin. I had an "allergic" reaction to it. Subsequently, my recovery was pretty dicey. I had days in ICU where I suffered from extreme bouts of heat, so much so I had to have a fan blowing directly on me. That diminished, but a week later, I still had periods of time when I'd go through several hours of extreme heat.

Also, I had difficulty breathing. For days, especially in the night, I'd gasp for breath. I recall one night curled up in a fetal position, so weary, tired of the constant gasping for breath and wondering if I was going to make it.

Now, I've learned that there's been a massive recall of the drug Heparin. It seems the product, made in China, had a bacterial agent in it, or the drug was in fact, a counterfeit! Incredible. I'd certainly like to know whether I've gotten something that, in a dozen years is going to do me in, or turn my skin purple, or cross my eyes. One thing is for certain: the reaction I got from Heparin came close to putting me on the other side of life.

All that to say this: In our society, we routinely expect the roads upon which we motor to be hazard-free. We expect that when we top the rise of a road, that it will continue. And, when we are given a drug, we expect it to be free of contaminants. But, that's a "road" that is becoming increasingly filled with potholes, and roads that suddenly end, with no warning signs posted.

Unfortunately, in the world of "Big Pharma," we are at their mercy. They make a HUGE profit off the drugs they sell to us. If drugs were gasoline, we'd be paying $20.00 a gallon. Lots of money in drugs, legal or otherwise. The Drug Industry is a powerful lobbying group, and it's no wonder that they seem to be able to get away with stuff that makes the tobacco manufacturers look like sellers of cotton candy.

Speaking of "legal," one certainly has to wonder how it is that a drug manufacturer can license a company in a foreign country (like China) to produce any drug that will be consumed in America, where there is absolutely no ability on the part of the U.S. Government to monitor the manufacturer for cleanliness, for quality control, or any of the normal demands made by our government on U.S. companies who manufacture products which we consume, including drugs.

Maybe it's time we begin to put some pressure on that cabal of legislators who cater to these companies who are willing to put us at risk. I say it's time to put the careers of those legislators at risk, be they Republican, Democrat or whatever.

Copyright 2008 - Voyle A. Glover

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