Defective Chinese products strike again

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This is bad:

From iPods to navigation systems, some of today's hottest gadgets are landing on store shelves with some unwanted extras from the factory -- pre-installed viruses that steal passwords, open doors for hackers and make computers spew spam.

Computer users have been warned for years about virus threats from downloading Internet porn and opening suspicious e-mail attachments. Now they run the risk of picking up a digital infection just by plugging a new gizmo into their PCs.

Recent cases reviewed by The Associated Press include some of the most widely used tech devices: Apple iPods, digital picture frames sold by Target and Best Buy stores and TomTom navigation gear.

In most cases, Chinese factories -- where many companies have turned to keep prices low -- are the source.

So far, the virus problem appears to come from lax quality control -- perhaps a careless worker plugging an infected music player into a factory computer used for testing -- rather than organized sabotage by hackers or the Chinese factories.
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-virus14mar14,0,4095393.story [Broken]


This is inexcusable:

Heparin probe studies supply chain


WASHINGTON — The investigation into a blood thinner suspected in 19 U.S. deaths is focusing on the possibility that raw biological ingredients were contaminated even before they reached a factory in China, manufacturer Baxter International said Friday.

That raises the prospect that the problem could have occurred somewhere along a supply chain that includes layers of middlemen and originates in pig farms. The generic medication, heparin, is derived from a substance found in the lining of pig intestines. It is used widely to prevent dangerous blood clots from forming during kidney dialysis and cardiac surgery.
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/washingtondc/la-na-fda15mar15,1,5035088.story [Broken]
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
Moonbear
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The heparin issue is a real nightmare. There were screw-ups on both sides though. It wasn't just that the factory in China was getting contaminated supplies, but the FDA screwed up and wasn't inspecting them like they were supposed to be (they had the plant name wrong and thought they'd already inspected them!) I think Baxter had also inspected the plant on their own, but either didn't notice or chose to ignore the issues.

I'm keeping a close eye on this one, because we use a lot of heparin in the research I do. We currently have some of the recalled product in our lab, but I'm waiting to hear what the contaminant is to decide if it is something that will interfere with our experiments (or put our sheep at risk...for example, if it's an allergen that affects humans, it might not affect sheep, but if it's a toxin, it might). We're holding off a bit on the next round of experiments just to let this get sorted out (we also don't want to be starting up something that will require a lot of heparin if there's a supply shortage because only one manufacturer is producing it right now...human patients have to get the priority for its use).

I've heard all the cases of deaths have been people who received bolus injections (i.e., those with blood clots being given very large doses to break them up) and not those who have gotten slow infusions, as one would use for a more preventative treatment accompanying certain procedures. It's really a tough situation to be in, because no treatment means the patient is going to die in many cases, so one has to gamble with giving them a drug that has a good chance of being contaminated and hoping they don't have a bad reaction to it.
 
  • #3
mgb_phys
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Viruses on legitimate software releases and products have occured for years ( even from companies like Apple and MS) and counterfeit parts aren't new - the helicopter crashes in the Iranian hostage rescue attempt 30years ago were thought to be due to counterfeit parts.

I suspect some congressman is about to demand subsidies for a factory in their area to ensure reliable US supplies.
 
  • #5
mgb_phys
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But that was Sony - we aren't afraid of the Japanese anymore, that's so 1986!
 
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The heparin issue is a real nightmare. There were screw-ups on both sides though. It wasn't just that the factory in China was getting contaminated supplies, but the FDA screwed up and wasn't inspecting them like they were supposed to be (they had the plant name wrong and thought they'd already inspected them!) I think Baxter had also inspected the plant on their own, but either didn't notice or chose to ignore the issues. ]

Apparently there's a problem with heparin in Germany, too. Same response, different company.
 
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Moonbear
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Apparently there's a problem with heparin in Germany, too. Same response, different company.
Nope, it's the same company Germany is getting it from...or at least same Chinese source of the ingredient suspected to be tainted. The German cases helped narrow it down more quickly that it's the source of the ingredients and not the US plant that makes the final product. Baxter has a division in Germany.
 

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