If hundreds of Americans were poisoned after ingesting counterfeit drugs from China, uproar would follow. Voters would demand a ban on Chinese pharmaceutical imports. U.S. lawmakers might feel obliged to enact one.

This scenario is less far-fetched than it sounds. Last year, two American and three Australian children were hospitalized after swallowing Aqua Dots, popular beads used in arts and crafts projects. The beads were produced in China and were found to contain a chemical that converts into the so-called "date-rape" drug when swallowed.

14 March 2008

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