China beheads ex-chief of its FDA

Forget Michael Moore and Cuba; now even China seems to have a few healthcare tricks we could learn from.

Here’s the story from MSNBC:

China on Tuesday executed the former head of its food and drug watchdog who had become a symbol of the country’s wide-ranging problems on product safety. Zheng Xiaoyu’s execution was confirmed by State Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Yan Jianyang at a news conference held to highlight efforts to improve China’s track record on food and drug safety.

Such cases “have brought shame to our administration and revealed serious problems. We need to seriously reflect on what lessons we can draw from such cases,” Yan said about Zheng and a separate case involving Cao Wenzhuang, the administration’s former pharmaceutical registration department director.

Zheng was sentenced to death in May for taking bribes to approve an antibiotic blamed for at least 10 deaths and other substandard medicines. Cao was given a death sentence last month with a two-year reprieve for accepting bribes and dereliction of duty. Such suspended death sentences usually are commuted to life in prison if the convict is deemed to have reformed.

If we implemented China’s bribery policy with our own FDA, can you imagine the dent it would put in Big Pharma’s coffers?

Then again, there probably wouldn’t be anybody left to run the FDA. Washington would pretty much become a ghost town.

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