Texas Relates To Import Safety Issues As China Executes Its Top Food and Drug Administrator

China’s official Xinhua news agency announced yesterday the execution of Zheng Xiaoyu, the former head of its State Food and Drug Administration, in an attempt to show the country’s seriousness about cleaning up obvious problems with exporting contaminated food and drugs.

Xiaoyu was convicted of accepting bribes totaling the equivalent of one million USD to approve untested drugs. The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court carried out the sentence after denying appeals from Xiaoyu, who argued the punishment was too harsh for the crime, and that he had confessed to his wrongdoings. Evidently, it wasn’t enough. Xiaoyu was the first ministerial-level official executed in China in seven years, and only the fourth within the past thirty.

The execution is expected to be met with mixed reviews by the American public, which has been outraged by China’s continuous problems with contaminated food and drugs. Numerous industries — from major retail chains, to the health insurance and health care industries — have been trying to contain serious health and safety risks from the products. Hundreds of human and animal lives have been affected in the U.S. alone.

But putting an individual to death for accepting bribes also is riling up human rights’ activists, many of whom argue that, no matter one’s stance on the effectiveness of the death penalty, it should not be considered for nonviolent crimes. China’s reputation for violating human rights, after all, is no better than its reputation for exporting dangerously contaminated goods.

The nationwide contamination earlier this year of some of the U.S.’s top pet food brands by wheat protein imported from China was only the latest in a series of scandals involving compromised products from the country, including tires, children’s toys, vitamins used for baby formula, and toothpaste. Even phony anti-malarial drugs have been exported and used, killing or further sickening desperately ill patients.

Texas understands this issue well. With so many products legally and illegally imported from the border, and with only 1% of all of the nation’s imports being inspected by the Food and Drug Administration, it’s likely that nearly any establishment in the state selling almost any goods — from Dallas, to Houston, to Austin, to the tiny border towns — is making available a product American regulatory industries would never allow to be produced in the U.S. Even fruit is subject to different regulations in Mexico, and is often sprayed with chemicals now banned in this country. The problems with Chinese imports, then, which circulate throughout every state, only adds to the problem, and Texans have been shown to be less than tolerant about products on the market that could put public health at risk.

China knows America’s outrage, and is making overt efforts to reassure the Western public of its commitment to safety, including the conviction and execution of Xiaoyu. Without its exports, the Chinese economy would collapse. Wal-Mart alone is China’s eighth largest trading partner, and over 90% of the vitamin C sold in the U.S. is produced there. In fact, Americans would be surprised to know that much of their aspirin, pain relievers, and antibiotics, including penicillin, are produced in China. Labels stating a vitamin or drug’s country of origin are not required in the U.S., however, and few products actually reveal it. Fewer Americans probably even think about it when picking up a prescription from the pharmacy.

This is certainly not to say that all products from China are dangerous, or even of poor quality. It’s the fact we simply don’t know that makes us cringe. We don’t know which exports are safe or, at times, even when we’re buying imported products, let alone imported drugs from a facility in China that may or may not be clean, and that may or may not be producing untested products. Xiaoyu’s willingness to accept bribes to approve untested drugs forces most of us to count our blessings that we weren’t one of the many malaria patients trusting phony medication, or one of the many beloved pets ingesting contaminated wheat protein. Perhaps this will be a turning point for China’s regulatory industry. Perhaps. But until then: buyer beware.

Making sure the products you buy are safe is one very important part of taking care of your health. How you take care of yourself will certainly affect you as you age, and eventually your wallet, as well.

Buying a Pharmacy: What You Need to Know About This Industry Before You Buy

The outlook is good for the pharmacy industry. It’s stable and growing. The 2010 Healthcare Reform Act, expanded insurance coverage for many Americans, making prescription drugs more affordable. As a result of this there has been an increased demand for pharmaceuticals creating some growth in the industry. As America’s growing population ages, owning a pharmacy sounds like a good investment. Keep in mind the this industry is highly regulated by the government which is not the case with other traditional commercial businesses. If you are considering buying a pharmacy there are several things you will need to know including deciding on what kind you want to own, assessing your personal finances, and checking a company’s financials against industry benchmarks.

Decide What Kind of Pharmacy You Want To Own

You need to decide what kind of pharmacy you want to own; a franchise or an independent one. If you want to go the franchise route keep in mind that industry leaders who are dominating the market including chains like Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid are not currently offering any franchising opportunities. However, there are many small companies that exist that are offering franchising opportunities.

If you decide to go the independent pharmacy route, there are several options to consider. It is common practice to buy into a partnership of an existing operation. This is advantageous because your initial investment will be much lower than if you were going it alone. The best option would be to get into a pharmacy where the owner plans to retire in the next 3-5 years. You can learn from their expertise and also share in expenses. Another option to consider is buying a pharmacy that caters to a niche market. An example of a niche market pharmacy is a compounding pharmacy. These types of operations can be highly lucrative.

Know Your Finances

Most pharmacy sales are all cash. If you plan to finance your business keep in mind banks want to see around 20% of your own money down. Banks may not fund the entire purchase price. You will need to know how you will make up the difference. Seller financing may be an available option. Sellers offer financing typically for 3-7 years with an interest rate at prime plus or minus 1-2 percent.

Financial Benchmarks

According to IBISWorld.com, pharmacies and drug stores in the US generate $248 billion each year. 52,193 businesses are sharing in that revenue and within those businesses, 775,721 people are employed. The average pharmacy will fill 54,427 prescriptions annually or 174 per day and the average independent pharmacy typically generates $2.8 million in sales each year. Cost of goods sold will be your highest expense running at about 75% of annual sales.

Conclusion

Traditional brick-and-mortar pharmacies are facing increased competition from online retailers of prescription drugs. However, overall, buying one can be a good business investment as it is a pretty stable industry that will most likely grow as America’s population ages.

Pharmaceutical Education and Employment Opportunities Are on the Ascent

What are the usual professional responsibilities of pharmacists? Well, they dispense medicine prescribed by the physicians, in the first place. Also they are responsible to give the customers knowledgeable advice regarding the possible side effects and dosage of the medications to be administered. In case the patient should be made aware of the necessity to take certain precautions to be observed during the course of medications, a pharmacist is responsible for informing the patience about such precautions, if any are needed. Such are the most common responsibilities of pharmacists, as they are widely assumed by the general public. Still, as any licensed pharmacist can tell you, the responsibilities are not limited to those mentioned above. First of all, any licensed pharmacist is required to have a degree in pharmacology. Secondly, such specialist should be aware of the various medicines, their generic name, dosage and possible side effects. Besides the good professional understanding of the regulating legislature related to manufacture and sale of various medicines any good professional pharmacist must command sound understanding and knowledge of the composition of medicines. And that is not all, such issues as the right storage conditions for the medicines are of critical importance, since the efficiency of prescription medications during the period of their shelf life largely depends on the correctness of their storage conditions!

As you see, any licensed pharmacist has a long road of learning to go before been accepted as a fully-fledged and respected member of the pharmacists community! But the natural questions are “How good are the employment opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry today? But what do the forecasts for the near future hold in stock for pharmacists? Is it really worthwhile to invest time and hard-earned money into becoming a professional pharmacist?” All these question are quite justified, since nobody would like to send time and money down the drain, investing them into professional specialization that turns out to be without future.

Let us have a closer look at the present-day employment opportunities of freshly graduated pharmacists and the expectations for the near future.

As has been confirmed by the various reports of analytical agencies specializing in the job-market related issues, the pharmacist’s specialization enjoys quite enviable demand. Traditionally, the most of the pharmacists still find employment with community pharmacies and drug stores, as they used to do over the decades. Well, that is no surprise, people got used to seen a pharmacists behind the counter of a drug-store or a pharmacy, handing out the prescription medicines as well as those that do not require prescription (they are justly referred to by the term of “over-the-counter” medicines). On the other hand, during the last decade the professional pharmacists have been in huge demand in public service and pharmaceutical industry. Hospitals, railways, large shopping centers and airports – they all look for good professionals in the field to fill in vacancies in their specialized their drug stores. Another interesting job opportunity for pharmacists could be found with medical drug information libraries and consulting, since the medical and nursing staffs are in need of information about new drugs – the industry of medications is constantly advancing, coming up each month and year with new generations of medications. Many specialists in pharmacology who graduated as pharmacists have developed successful and self-fulfilling careers, finding employment as tutors in colleges and universities. Others prefer to write or edit books of pharmacology, as well as reference guides – as you see, the employment and career opportunities in the pharmacology industry are in plenty!

What about the forecasts and expectations for the near future? The demand for professionals in the pharmacology in general and for the pharmacists in particular is expected only to grow considerably during the period through 2016 and beyond. The reasons for such forecasts are well-grounded. The population will continue growing in numbers – and the numbers of hospitals and other health care establishments are destined to grow accordingly, to accommodate the increasing demand. That means that more and more pharmacists will be required to fill in new outlets and positions – in traditional drug-stores, in hospitals and related job settings. Secondly, the number of senior citizens is also expected to grow considerably. Senior citizens of all the aged population groups are known to be the main consumers of prescription and “over-the-counter” drugs. As the result, the demand for specialists able to handle the growing demand on the part of the patients is guaranteed to increase over the practically foreseeable future period.

What are the usual education and certification requirements for those whishing to take up a career as pharmacists?

The educational and certification demands for pharmacists are very definite and strict. All persons, whishing to build a career of pharmacists are required to have a degree from a college (associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s one), upon which they need to get licensed by the pertinent agency in order to start a professional career of a licensed pharmacist. Besides, the educational establishment they have gradated from should be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education and Examinations. Such are the basic mandatory requirements for a professional licensed pharmacist, wishing to start up a successful career in the industry.

Besides the specific subjects, related to pharmacist’s specialization, any accredited pharmacy degree program should usually include courses in mathematics, natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences.

As you see, the academic requirements for the pharmacology students are noticeably high. In order to insure the adequate level of academic excellence among their student the majority of the pharmacy colleges have introduced admission tests for aspiring students.

The students, whishing to continue education – as well as those who have already some experience in the professional field and are after the better career opportunities – are offered continuing education options, such as bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as doctorates in various specialized areas of pharmaceutical industries.

One of the good options for busy working professionals to continue education and get a higher academic degree in pharmacology would be to make use of modern means of distance education – the online pharmacy degree training schools and programs. Those online establishments – surely, we are speaking about the reputable and properly accredited courses, nothing like some shady “diploma mill” sites – have proved to be a good competition to the traditional, campus-based ones.

Another consideration to be given a serious attention and thought – as far as career advancement in pharmacology and pharmacy industry is concerned – is that your success would largely depend on the type of work you will be able to get and your business talents/skills/experience. As an illustration to this statement you could easily find online the career stories of success: for instance, people who worked for drugstore chains became top-managers. Pharmacists employed at various hospitals – general or specialized – got to be directors of pharmacy services. The government agencies and educational institutions also offer interesting and promising openings. Pharmacy degree specialist could also build excellent careers by taking up teaching or research, that all depends on your personal talents, individual inclinations, career objectives etc. Anyway, besides the required level of academic excellence, necessary for each specific position, any newly graduated pharmacist should realize that their jobs always require them to communicate and interact with people of different types. From this point of view good person-to-person communication skills would always be a great advantage, so take care to acquire them by all means!