Rhodia SA, a leading producer of paracentamol drugs Panadol and Tylenol, will close its factory in France this week, leaving Europe completely dependent on imports for that drug, according to Bloomberg. Rhodia says it is dropping out of the $800 million paracentamol business because of stiff competition from Asian producers who can export the same product at a fraction of the cost.
The news is a double-blow for Europeans, not only for the 43 employees who lost their jobs, but for consumers who have expressed concerns about the quality of drugs and other products made and manufactured in China.
Products made in China have been continuously under fire for the past several months, from milk tainted with melamine to toys covered with toxic lead paint. Earlier this year lots of the blood thinner heparin manufactured in China were recalled after more than 80 Americans died and hundreds more fell ill after receiving doses of heparin. Select batches of heparin were found to have been contaminated during production at Baxter International’s China plant.
Since then, the FDA has announced plans to better track imports of food and drugs. One of its first steps was to open three offices in China to oversee quality control standards of products imported to the United States. Another 50-plus offices will be opened worldwide, though the agency says it could take years to effectively inspect all foreign facilities.
According to Bloomberg, China has more than 700 plants registered to ship drugs to the United States – more than any other country.