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Current Affairs

US targets China in its painkiller crackdown

Date: 18 December 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Strict sanctions have been imposed by United States government on Chinese painkiller manufacturers.

 

Background

The US has been worrying about what it terms an ‘addiction epidemic’, which has been killing about 1 lakh Americans each year.

 

Details

  • The order signed by President Biden allows US officials to directly target foreign drug traffickers, especially Chinese.

  • Currently, the officials have imposed sanctions on four Chinese companies. This also includes a company believed to be one of the world’s biggest producers of anabolic steroids.

 

Implications

  • The orders will put blanket ban on Chinese painkillers and also ingredients. Gangs from South America, involved in trafficking will also be cracked down.

  • Assets owned by these entities will be confiscated. The drug makers can be directly targeted rather than going after cartels and gangs.

  • Wuhan Yuancheng Gongchuang Technology Co Ltd, a notorious drug manufacturer based in China will be targeted. A $5 million bounty has been announced on its founder.

  • Brazil’s most powerful criminal group, Primeiro Comando Da Capital, or PCC, has also been included. It is one of the largest traffickers of cocaine to Europe.

 

Drug overdose in US

  • There has been steady rise in drug overdose deaths in the US. The death numbers surpass car crashes, guns and even flu and pneumonia.

  • Synthetic opioid fentanyl is the largest contributor. It is a prescription drug that is manufactured and sold illegally.

  • The raw ingredients needed for manufacture are sources from China. Even India is quickly becoming a source for illegal drugs.

 

Tackling drugs in US

  • President Nixon acted against drugs by labeling drug abuse as “public enemy number one”. President Trump had also announced a ‘war on drugs’ in 2020.

  • China was pressurized by the US to ban fentanyl. The recent decision has been opposed by Beijing for being erroneous.

 

China’s role in painkillers

China is a major source of the opioid fentanyl, which is a powerful painkiller. The ingredients needed to manufacture also originate in China.