It appears that the federal government, which is supposed to work FOR the American people, basically shut down under George W. Bush and his cronies. Well, the Bush administration did work to better the welfare of the corporations and the rich, but the rest of us were left out in the cold. It also appears that word was passed down on from high: let things slide; don't worry if you don't do your jobs, nobody's going to check; and we don't care!
The Food and Drug Administration is a case in point. Sarah Avery and Sabina Vollmer, writing for The News & Observer, tell this story out of Raleigh, North Carolina:
"Months before an Angier company shipped deadly bacteria-tainted drugs, the federal Food and Drug Administration received numerous complaints about sediment and debris in the medicine.
"The FDA received reports about AM2PAT as early as 2005, but not until December 2007 did the agency pull any of the drugs off the market.
"AM2PAT, which is now the subject of a criminal investigation, sold tainted syringes of heparin and saline that have been linked to five deaths. Hundreds more people were sickened, often after receiving the medicines during chemotherapy, kidney dialysis and other intravenous procedures."
So, who cares if a few people died and hundreds more got sick? Not the FDA!
Here are some highlights of this mess:
Conditions at the plant were a mess..."in flagrant violation of proper manufacturing processes."
Note that "...the company's 'chief microbiologist' was a teenager who dropped out of high school."
"A key piece of laboratory equipment designed to catch evidence of contamination was broken."
The so-called clean room, "where air is carefully controlled to reduce the spread of germs, was ventilated with an ordinary room fan."
The FDA is not responding to questions.
Part of the problem is the FDA is underfunded and understaffed. That is the fault of the Bush administration! Plants like this are supposed to be inspected every two years but instead have received site inspections every five years!
Now we've got more problems what with medications that cause heart attacks and toys from China full of lead and not to forget that we can't eat peanut butter products at the moment without risking suffering and perhaps death.
Forest Horne, a medical malpractice lawyer in Raleigh, says The FDA is clearly asleep at the switch."
And not without reason. The FDA has too much to do and has not enough people or money to do it.
But, hey, we can spend $10 billion a month in Iraq. No problemo. Saving the Iraqis from what? Us!
The complete article is here.