Pharmaceutical companies in China are making up the results of their clinical trials in order to get approval to mass produce drugs, according to a report conducted by the country’s State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA). Staggeringly, the government-run investigation found that up to 80 percent of all data published by Chinese drug manufacturers may have been falsified.
According to Chinese newspaper Economic Information Daily, the report looked at the results of 1,622 clinical trials of drugs awaiting approval, and found that many of the findings were either unverifiable, incomplete, or unable to meet the necessary standard for analysis. The SFDA has said that strong economic competition and financial pressures are probably the main motivation for this fraudulent practice, as drug companies are often desperate to get the green light to put their products on the market.
Yet this highly immoral behavior can have potentially disastrous consequences for those who end up using these drugs. For instance, the report found that many companies were deliberately underreporting harmful side effects experienced by participants in their trials, in the hope of gaining the necessary health and safety approval. The SFDA ultimately condemns this practice as a “breach of duty by supervision departments and malpractice by pharmaceutical companies, intermediary agents and medical staff.”
Chinese healthcare professional Luo Liang told Radio Free Asia that the pharmaceutical industry in China is lagging behind that of the US and Europe, meaning companies often resort to foul play in order to win the right to market their second-rate drugs. “There are no new drugs in development in the same way that there are overseas,” he said, adding that Chinese companies regularly manufacture products using formulas that were once under patent but have since expired.