At Last, China Getting Paid for Poison

Nevirapine from China, anyone?

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Opens the Door to Chinese Pills

“To export its FDA-approved medicine, [Chinese drug manufacturer] Huahai must wait until May 2012, when a U.S. patent held by Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH for the AIDS drug Nevirapine, which the German company markets under the brand name Viramune, is set to expire. Huahai currently sells Nevirapine to the Chinese government for around $3.50 for one bottle of 60, 200-milligram pills.

But the FDA imprimatur will make it easier for Huahai to get other approvals and attract American drug partners. Huahai now hopes to replicate its FDA performance with other pharmaceutical products and to start exporting a finished-dosage Alzheimer’s drug to Europe as early as next year.”

Nevirapine from China…. Hey, when it kills people, it will still be ‘hiv’s’ fault, right? (Or will we blame China?)

God bless the free market…





  1. Liam;

    B.I. will wait until 2012 and then announce that there have been too many toxic effects and they’re dumping Nevirapine in favor of a new drug (diluite nevirapine) thereby destroying the market for the generic version. But by then maybe the Chinese will own B.I. as well as the entire western world ;)

    – David

  2. Received by Email from a Libertarian friend:

    Hi Liam

    What does the Chinese government’s and drug company’s machinations with the US government (FDA) have to do with the free market?

    I respond, with some consideration:

    Ah, a challenge!

    I have no iron rebuttal, only some philosophizing. Here goes:

    The international, border-less free market….

    I like trade, but international, global ‘free trade’ is essentially piracy. It’s not free trade for nations, it’s essentially a new kind of clever colonial reach, in which national identity and sovereignty (which I do believe in), is cracked and broken in favor of seeking the lowest international bidder to do a nation’s work.

    For any project, it’s not the lowest town or city bidder anymore, or even the lowest regional, State or even National bidder. It’s the lowest *International* bidder.

    That means that projects relating to national identity (and here you might yawn), or national security (and here we should all pay attention – ) are for sale.

    The market works, but it is a utopian vision to think it works always, without respect to environmental issues, or local issues, for example.

    So, I am in favor of trade – but free trade, as in, ‘screw Michigan, let’s build all our cars in Bulgaria, is only good for a short time.’ That is, it’s good for many, who can buy cars cheaper. It’s good for Bulgaria in the short run (in terms of putting in factories where people can slave away their lives – (oh, boo hoo, you say, it’s a better slaving than what was offered before in some mine or in Soviet-era unemployment. yes, maybe probably true).

    But eventually the Bulgarian market will demand more, and the auto industry will have to move again, and then again, and again. Until everybody has a car, and the world is rotten with emissions, and hungrier than ever for oil.

    That’s a medium long-term problem. Nuclear will fill a gap, perhaps for quite some time, but that’s not a harmless technology, and that will create a very intense new discussion about waste and environmental issues.

    The free market beats communism/socialism in every way, but it doesn’t care much for the physical environment. (We’ll see how that plays out in this century).

    So, Bulgaria gets a lift, but Detroit gets left behind. And it has been behind for a long time. All of this highlights a certain reality – the world is not perfect, and we should not try to create our utopias here. It’s an awfully Hindu point of view…

    But the email was about Nevirapine. So we note that Nevirapine, a bodily poison, is now going to be rendered by China, for sale to Brasil, India, China, Africa. That will undermine US profits (but only once the patent expires)…What does it add up to?

    I’m not sure. Maybe they’re done with the big Nevirapine push after 2012. Or, more likely, they just didn’t have control of the patent laws, and will be loathe to share the goldmine with Chinese drug pushers.

    The idea that the market regulates this with any humanizing ethic has got to be checked though. There is no great moral question here; “What does Nevirapine actually do” will not be asked by the free market (see the footnotes in the blog for the drug’s profile). The quality the free market does deliver, in droves, is a massive distribution of wealth.

    In this sense, the free market, a la Adam Smith and the Scottish Renaissance ( ) is the great liberator of humankind, emerging from its medieval servitude (fealty) to knights, barons and lords… this, emerging from the various communisms (or brutal socialisms) of the late Roman era, (a la Diocletian).

    It owes everything to the expansion and fecundity of humankind, and its proliferation and innovation in the medieval European landscape, as cities got bigger (despite plagues), and generational technological innovation (progress) brought better methods of cultivation and procurement of food and materials to greater numbers of people.

    At a certain threshold of resource and production, a kind of hierarchical fascism (the medieval/feudal/fascist model) is neither productive, or necessary in maintaining the civil society. Europe burst that boundary most completely, when it had the Americas to expand into, use, exploit, manage, etc.

    So, the world has always worked under the perpetual expansion model, where it could.

    That just means that things will always change.

    I don’t like the Clintonista Nafta-type programs, however, because I am more of a nationalist, in many ways, than an internationalist. And more of a Federalist than a nationalist. I am a believer in that more local process, as a backbone of a strong civic society. I like the local differences, in many ways, more than the international similarities that international free trade brings.

    (That said, the world is a smaller, more navigable, if apparently less mysterious and apparently, more shallow place than it used to appear to us wanderers.)

    I dislike the aspect of trade that favors the deal over the product. And trade is always tempted in its transaction, to favor expediency and earning, versus quality.

    Well, you say, don’t we have the best cars? Don’t we have the best iPods? TVs? Chia Pets?

    Well, I’m sure we do. But what good is a car, if we tear up the rail lines in our major cities? I like the train. More people can ride it for less. And we can still have individual vehicles, of course. But LA was a wonderland of rails, like Seattle, like many cities, before the oil co’s decided the internal combustion engine was the most saleable thing on the planet.

    They were right, of course. But sometimes, I wish (and here’s my utopian thinking), that we thought a little more deeply, and a move or two farther into the future, and took a less lusty approach to everything that was new.

    I hear the notes of my defeat in my own words, of course. I recognize humanity for the messy, lusty, impetuous organism that it is.

    But I wish the Chinese weren’t simply able to embrace Nevirapine, as a money-maker, just because the market will float it.

    And the market will float it, because Nevirapine is what we want to do to the Africans today.

    Under Pope Nicholas (as written in the legal Bull, Romanus Pontifex), Europe agreed that the thing to do with Africans was to reduce them to “perpetual slavery” ( and ), so I suppose we’re… well, I don’t know if we’re doing better. We’re doing it differently, more cleverly, less straightforwardly.

    Anyway….It’s a funny thing, the human species, and I am trying my best to see it for what it is, and how it works.



  3. Welcome to Hamlet territory…

    What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason!
    how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how
    express and admirable! in action how like an angel!
    in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the
    world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me,
    what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not
    me: no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling
    you seem to say so.

    Hamlet II sci

  4. I’ve heard the mermaids singing, each to each, I do not think they sing for me. (Oh, but they do!)

    Whose serve?
    * Hesitation! Love… one.
    Whose go?
    * Why?
    Why not?
    * What for?
    Foul! No synonyms! One… all.
    * What in God’s name is going on?
    Foul! No rhetoric! Two… one.
    * What does it all add up to?
    Can’t you guess?
    * Were you addressing me?
    Is there anyone else?
    * Who?
    How would I know?
    * Why do you ask?
    Are you serious?
    * Was that rhetoric?
    * Statement! Two all. Game point.
    What’s the matter with you today?
    * When?
    * Are you deaf?
    Am I dead?
    * Yes or no?
    Is there a choice?
    * Is there a God?
    Foul! No non sequiturs! Three… two, one game all.
    * What’s your name?
    What’s yours?
    * You first.
    Statement! One… love.
    * What’s your name when you’re at home?
    What’s yours?
    * When I’m at home?
    Is it different at home?
    * What home?
    Haven’t you got one?
    * Why do you ask?
    What are you driving at?
    * What’s your name?
    Repetition! Two… love. Match point.
    * Who do you think you are?
    Rhetoric! Game and match!

  5. The Romanus Pontifex is my bedtime read tonight…the best reading I can think of when one has a slight fever. I will leave you with this:

    Given the existence as uttered forth in the public works of Puncher and Wattmann of a personal God quaquaquaqua with white beard quaquaquaqua outside time without extension who from the heights of divine apathia divine athambia divine aphasia loves us dearly with some exceptions for reasons unknown but time will tell and suffers like the divine Miranda with those who for reasons unknown but time will tell are plunged in torment plunged in fire whose fire flames if that continues and who can doubt it will fire the firmament that is to say blast hell to heaven so blue still and calm so calm with a calm which even though intermittent is better than nothing but not so fast and considering what is more that as a result of the labors left unfinished crowned by the Acacacacademy of Anthropopopometry of Essy-in-Possy of Testew and Cunard it is established beyond all doubt all other doubt than that which clings to the labors of men that as a result of the labors unfinished of Testew and Cunnard it is established as hereinafter but not so fast for reasons unknown that as a result of the public works of Puncher and Wattmann it is established beyond all doubt that in view of the labors of Fartov and Belcher left unfinished for reasons unknown of Testew and Cunard left unfinished it is established what many deny that man in Possy of Testew and Cunard that man in Essy that man in short that man in brief in spite of the strides of alimentation and defecation wastes and pines wastes and pines and concurrently simultaneously what is more for reasons unknown in spite of the strides of physical culture the practice of sports such as tennis football running cycling swimming flying floating riding gliding conating camogie skating tennis of all kinds dying flying sports of all sorts autumn summer winter winter tennis of all kinds hockey of all sorts penicillin and succedanea in a word I resume flying gliding golf over nine and eighteen holes tennis of all sorts in a word for reasons unknown in Feckham Peckham Fulham Clapham namely concurrently simultaneously what is more for reasons unknown but time will tell fades away I resume Fulham Clapham in a word the dead loss per head since the death of Bishop Berkeley being to the tune of one inch four ounce per head approximately by and large more or less to the nearest decimal good measure round figures stark naked in the stockinged feet in Connemara in a word for reasons unknown no matter what matter the facts are there and considering what is more much more grave that in the light of the labors lost of Steinweg and Peterman it appears what is more much more grave that in the light the light the light of the labors lost of Steinweg and Peterman that in the plains in the mountains by the seas by the rivers running water running fire the air is the same and then the earth namely the air and then the earth in the great cold the great dark the air and the earth abode of stones in the great cold alas alas in the year of their Lord six hundred and something the air the earth the sea the earth abode of stones in the great deeps the great cold on sea on land and in the air I resume for reasons unknown in spite of the tennis the facts are there but time will tell I resume alas alas on on in short in fine on on abode of stones who can doubt it I resume but not so fast I resume the skull fading fading fading and concurrently simultaneously what is more for reasons unknown in spite of the tennis on on the beard the flames the tears the stones so blue so calm alas alas on on the skull the skull the skull the skull in Connemara in spite of the tennis the labors abandoned left unfinished graver still abode of stones in a word I resume alas alas abandoned unfinished the skull the skull in Connemara in spite of the tennis the skull alas the stones Cunard (mêlée, final vociferations) . . . tennis . . . the stones . . . so calm . . . Cunard . . . unfinished . . .

    Waiting for Godot-Beckett

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