It has been all over the news. From pharmaceuticals to pet food, from toys and other consumer goods, China has totally been in the line of fire of critics who view the country’s quality control standards and government regulations as severely wanting. After the shocking reports of deaths due to tainted cough medicine in Central America, a firestorm of controversy has surrounded China’s industry experts, manufacturing titans and federal officials. Though the country has been able to zoom as the world’s number one exporter of consumer goods, it’s record as far as safety, labor laws and quality control has always been in question.
Almost 120 people in Panama were the unfortunate victims of the laxity of the Chinese authorities. Cough medicine that was mixed in Panama was made with raw materials from China. The substance diethylene glycol – a known ingredient in making anti-freeze – was labeled as an illegitimate substitute for the the far more expensive substance glycerin (a usual part of cough medication formula). The patients who unwittingly took the medicine laced with counterfeit ingredients suffered rapid degeneration of the kidneys. Due to the mysterious nature of the deaths, doctors in Panama were not quick in diagnosing what was causing the untimely demise of many patients. Only in the latter part did they realize that a lot of the deaths were linked by the intake of the same brand of cough syrup.
China has denied its shortcomings in the incident. The US has also exposed the presence of diethylene glycol in toothpaste imports from China. It is unclear how Panama will seek justice given this grave mishap.