Intentional (or not) Contamination of Pharmaceuticals

In The Year of the Flood , I found it really interesting that the disease that wipes out most of the population starts in the sex pill that is marketed to the general population. I decided to look into instances of intentional drug contamination or misuse. Past instances include the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, but there are plenty of more recent ones as well. But what I found most interesting was that it’s actually very possible to do what was done to essentially wipe out the human population. An article I found stated that if an event like this were to happen it could result in an “explosive epidemic suddenly producing many illnesses”. The article goes on to talk about past cases of food and drug contamination, and even though most of them were not very widespread, they were still powerful enough to make an impact. The article also states that the international food supply is very vulnerable, especially the meat and processed food industry because over the past few decades many of the various companies have consolidated or been otherwise bought out and combined, which means one tainted steak could mean thousands of hospital visits, should the situation ever arise. This is why food safety checks are so important and recalls should be followed, whether there appears to be any danger or not. It’s also why stores warn heavily against buying open or damaged items, especially food or drug items. Of course, you can’t always know if there’s something not right with the items you consume, but the point of the article is to make it clear that food and drug companies need to always be cautious, especially when handling large amounts of products that will go to millions of people all over the world.

Article:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673602079473

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