NEW YORK - U.S. officials have tried for the last decade to prevent China from letting poisons find their way into pharmaceuticals, it was reported.
The Food and Drug Administration's efforts to investigate poisonings in Haiti in 1997 and in Panama last year show regulatory failure and the intransigence of Chinese officials, The New York Times said Sunday.
The cases further show what happens when nations fail to police the world's pipeline of allegedly safe ingredients, the newspaper said.
Ten years ago, a drug ingredient from China killed dozens of Haitian children, yet China ignored U.S. requests to determine who made it and why a state-owned company in China sold it as safe.
Last year in Panama, Chinese-made diethylene glycol - a chemical in some anti-freeze -- was mixed into medicine, killing at least 100 people. Recently, tens of thousands of tubes of tainted toothpaste were recalled in the United States and seven other countries.
"This problem keeps coming back," said Dr. Joshua G. Schier, a U.S. federal toxicologist. Schier said the problem repeats itself because the counterfeiters are rarely identified, much less prosecuted.
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