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  • Ciwujia: New dangers in TCM

    I find this news article interesting, mainly because I've traveled Yunnan province extensively in the past (and absolutely loved it). It is well known for TCM pharmaceutical houses, that formulate all sorts of TCM medications. I've visited these places, and have purchased stuff from them in the past.

    This article is extremely relevant, and really demonstrates one of the things that I've made mention before, of TCM and its occasional dangers.

    BEIJING: The Chinese government announced that it has banned the sale of an herbal medicine after three people died and three others fell seriously ill.

    The warning about the medicine, called Ciwujia, was posted on the Web site of the State Food and Drug Administration late Wednesday. It said six people had been severely affected after being injected with the herbal formula made by Wandashan Pharmaceutical, based in northeastern China.

    The announcement is certain to erode further consumer confidence in Chinese products, already shaken by revelations last month that dairy products illegally tainted with the industrial chemical melamine led to the deaths of at least three babies and caused 53,000 other children to fall ill. Many countries have begun banning suspect Chinese food products.

    Toxic drugs have long been a problem in China, and official corruption is sometimes involved. Last year, the former head of the State Food and Drug Administration, Zheng Xiaoyu, was executed after being found guilty of accepting more than $850,000 in bribes from eight drug companies. His execution was intended to be a sign that anyone involved in manufacturing or enabling the sale of tainted food or medicine would be severely punished.

    But the problems persist. In the latest incident, the SFDA said it had discovered two batches of harmful Ciwujia medicine and urged people across China to report any problems with the product.

    The Web site of Wandashan advertises Ciwujia as a traditional medicine that can be used for the treatment of cerebral thrombosis, cerebral arteriosclerosis and cerebral embolism caused by kidney and liver problems, as well as alleviating coronary heart disease. It is sold in various forms, including capsules and herbal teas.

    All six victims were being treated in a hospital in Yunnan Province, in southwestern China. According to reports on Thursday from three local news media organizations, they fell ill after being injected with Ciwujia at No. 4 People's Hospital in Honghe prefecture. The illnesses of the three men and three women were first reported within the hospital last Sunday, and by Wednesday, three of the patients had died.

    A woman answering the phone at the Wandashan headquarters in the provincial capital of Heilongjiang said the company had recalled all Ciwujia products within 24 hours of receiving word from the government. She said she knew of no adverse reactions before this incident. The woman declined to give her name and said she could not provide more details because of an ongoing investigation.

    Pharmacies in China often sell traditional Chinese as well as Western medicines. Some products are well-known, but many are obscure and contain little-known ingredients.

    The Chinese government is still grappling with the fallout from the milk scandal involving melamine, the biggest food safety crisis to hit the country in years. Government officials have said that milk suppliers added melamine to milk to fraudulently bolster the protein count on quality tests. Babies and children drinking the products can develop kidney stones and other ailments. On Wednesday alone, 539 children were admitted to hospitals.

    On Thursday, the Finance Ministry announced on its Web site that it would give the equivalent of $44 million in subsidies to dairy farmers hit hard by the downturn in milk sales. Many farmers have had to dispose of vast quantities of suspect milk.

    Most of the money will go to farmers in the main dairy-producing regions and provinces of Inner Mongolia, Hebei, Liaoning, Shanxi and Shandong.

    Huang Yuanxi contributed research.
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  • #2
    Doc I appreciate you sharing this but I'd just like to caution you to remember that there are just as many tragic problems with western pharmaceuticals, particularly in china.

    Although I cant verify this, I've seen several interviews and also known people who've worked in internal medicine in chinese hospitals, all of whom claimed that the for about every 1 patient who had a lethal reaction to an herbal preparation, there were 10 patients give or take, who had lethal reactions to pharmaceutical or surgical treatments.

    Now, the fact that this story mentions the preparation was injected in the patients who died is also significant.

    The chinese have done some interesting stuff in terms of herbal injections, some of its very effective, and yet some of it is potentially dangerous. Any agent is of course going to be stronger, and riskier, when administered through an injection vs a gastrointestinal route. This risk is not specific to an herbal injection.

    But that doesnt mean its more dangerous than pharmaceutical treatment through the same vectors (oral, IM or IV injection).

    The practice of all medicine is ultimately inherently dangerous. And there are corrupt money hungry individuals and dangerous quacks in all styles of medicine, as well as skilled practioners.
    Show me a man who has forgotten words, so that I can have a word with him.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by daodejing View Post
      Doc I appreciate you sharing this but I'd just like to caution you to remember that there are just as many tragic problems with western pharmaceuticals, particularly in china.
      And in Thailand also. I'll bet you see it in Vietnam and other neighboring countries.

      It probably has more to do with one major issue than anything else.

      Fake medications.

      I've seen it, and personally experienced it, far too many times. If you're not careful where you buy your medications, you'll get bad stuff. The Chinese (and the Indians also) are truly expert in mimicking real medications. They put a little of the real stuff in to varying degrees, and then make the pills with other shit, including baking soda, talcum powder, melamine, etc. The packaging is identical to the real stuff made in Europe, down to the holograms and printing. In fact, there are some of the smaller pharmacies that can't tell the difference; they just get it "cheaply" at the local major supplier (in Phuket, we have a market callled "Supercheap"; you can buy almost anything there.)

      Major pharmaceutical chains get their medications out of Bangkok, who get it directly from the real manufacturers in Europe.

      Also, western medicine practitioners in China are not as well trained as their western counterparts. Western medicine is not as good in China as it is in Thailand, the US, Europe, etc. Bad practitioners make bad judgments.

      Lastly, western medications can be more powerful in their actions than their TCM counterparts. Using a more powerful medication incorrectly can lead to more problems.

      So yes, you are correct. Patients do have increased bad outcomes from "western" medicines in China (and elsewhere), but not for the reasons that you might suspect.
      Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

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      • #4
        Toxic drugs have long been a problem in China, and official corruption is sometimes involved. Last year, the former head of the State Food and Drug Administration, Zheng Xiaoyu, was executed after being found guilty of accepting more than $850,000 in bribes from eight drug companies. His execution was intended to be a sign that anyone involved in manufacturing or enabling the sale of tainted food or medicine would be severely punished.
        Not to get too much off topic, but this paragraph jumped out at me for being an example of how different the American and Chinese systems are in dealing with corruption... Bernie Madoff costs our economy millions of dollars and is allowed to wait for trial in a swanky apartment, while this guy accepts $850K in bribes and gets f*cking executed.

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        • #5
          I never said I didn't like the rather quick methods of Chinese "justice". They don't put up with any shit, but, unfortunately, they ignore a lot too. The continuing melamine drama is one example.
          Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

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          • #6
            Originally posted by zachsan View Post
            Not to get too much off topic, but this paragraph jumped out at me for being an example of how different the American and Chinese systems are in dealing with corruption... Bernie Madoff costs our economy millions of dollars and is allowed to wait for trial in a swanky apartment, while this guy accepts $850K in bribes and gets f*cking executed.
            A jew in america will never be found guilty of anything.

            What happened to Rahm Emmanuel over Obama's senate seat? Nothing.

            What hapenned to Rod Blagojevich over Obama's senate seat? He was impeached from his job as governor.

            Look up Cosmo holdings I think it is. The guy was another Ponzi scheme operator. When I saw him, he was in cuffs being taken to the police car. But the jew Madoff? He is in a penthouse in New York City.

            Phil Spector committed murder about 5 or 6 years ago. Lawyers have dragged the trial out for years. Spector will die of old age before the trial goes anywhere.

            If you are jewish in the west, you can commit any crime and get away with it.

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            • #7
              My opinion is that the problem lies in the sentence describing what happened.

              "It said six people had been severely affected after being injected with the herbal formula made by Wandashan Pharmaceutical, based in northeastern China."

              Herbal medicine is herbal medicine. Herbal medicine is not injectable medicine.

              They are taking herbs meant to drink, and trying to use them in a western way by injecting them into the blood stream. Only an idiot would do that. Or some poor deluded fool who believed Western Medicine was superior to Chinese medicine.

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              • #8
                I"m not so sure it has to do with religion.

                It has to do with our bizarre justice system, and our deteriorating moral systems in our corrupt loving society.

                Just look at the last four or five cabinet members that Obama has put forth...
                Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

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                • #9
                  If you are jewish in the west, you can commit any crime and get away with it.
                  as a person who has seen the inside of a cell, who is also jewish by birth, i can tell you this concept is nonsense.
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                  • #10
                    Chinese hospitals are scary places. First of all the physicians there are so under-trained. To give you an idea, one of my distant relatives is a neurosurgeon in Beijing right now, but I know for a fact he only went to medical school for 2 years. In fact I remember we were initially worried about him because it took him two attempts to pass the college entrance exam in the first place! In case some of you don't know, you don't need an undergraduate degree in China to get into medical school. So basically you are allowing someone who has only 2 years of education and training beyond high school to work on live human brains! People who get to be physicians or surgeons in China are definitely not the top students in their high school classes (those would go into engineering or the sciences). It's no surprise that so many Chinese mainlanders die in the hospitals before their time, and their families haven't the faintest idea why.

                    Beyond that, the physicians in China are so corrupt that medicine in general is actually one of the least prestigious professions based on general public perception. Their main earnings are through "gray income", aka underhand money that individual patient offers them in return for preferential treatment. You can stay in hospital for months as long as you have enough money, you can also take away someone else's bed who is much more seriously ill. It's appalling what goes on there everyday. You have a better chance surviving by not ever going to hospitals than going to one.

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                    • #11
                      I have a story from Shaolin, from many years ago, about hospitals. Never sat down to write it. It still bothers me to this day...
                      Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                      "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                      (more comments in my User Profile)
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by onesp1ng View Post
                        as a person who has seen the inside of a cell, who is also jewish by birth, i can tell you this concept is nonsense.
                        Did you know there are people in this world that lie just to......."get" people?

                        For instance. Say some guy says he does not like black people. One of these people who lie, would say "My father is black", because he wanted to first person to feel guilty. Here the first person is saying he does not like black people, and the guy right in front of him has a father who is black.

                        Or say some guy says he does not like Chinese. The lying guy says his mother was chinese, so he is part chinese. The guy is lying. He is only saying that to try to make the guy saying he doesn't like Chinese people feel something or the other.

                        Once you have been around, you can hardly trust a word people say until you have known them for 2 years or so. After 2 years you can usually tell with most people if they are honest or game players.

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                        • #13
                          are you suggesting, in your typically cryptic fashion, that i'm lying to 'get' you? or is it that you can't quite tell yet?
                          Last edited by onesp1ng; 02-27-2009, 04:13 AM.
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