Skip to comments.CHINA: Thousands maimed by 'miracle' implants gel
Posted on 05/30/2006 4:26:11 PM PDT by MadIvan
LI MEI is slim, with hair that falls almost to her waist, and pretty enough to draw looks in the street. But her husband refuses to come near her, and, in any case, her breasts are too painful to be touched.
She is one of hundreds of thousands of Chinese women who wanted bigger breasts and spent several hundred pounds at beauty salons for injections of Ao Mei Ding or Amazing Gel. But in Mrs Lis case, such as countless others, the operation went wrong.
On April 30, nine years after the product in its earliest form first won government approval, the State Food and Drug Supervision Administration decided to ban Amazing Gel. Chen Huanren, a senior physician at the plastic surgery hospital at the Chinese Academy of Medical Science, said: This should not be used on humans. The Government violated procedures to approve it. They took bribes and some officials are now under investigation.
For Mrs Li, the ban on polyacrylamide hydrogel has come too late. The gel has formed hard lumps in her breasts, caused infections and migrated around her body.
She originally paid £570 to a Beijing beauty salon in 2003 for the implant of 300ml of Amazing Gel. Last year she paid £700 at the Beijing Union Hospital to have it removed.
The gel had solidified and stuck to my breasts. The doctor had to scrape it out with a spoon. It was white when it was injected and blue-black when they took it out, she said.
But the doctors will never be able to remove it all and have recommended a full body scan to try to trace the rest of the material. However, Mrs Li is luckier than many.
Qiao Qun, head of plastic surgery at Beijing Union Hospital, says she performs a dozen operations a week on women whose implants of Amazing Gel have gone wrong. Many women have had their breasts removed. Mrs Qiao rails at a system that could have allowed Amazing Gel to be approved, sold and injected by beauticians with no medical training.
She said: In no other country in the world is there a problem like this on such a scale. The numbers of people who may have medical problems are simply enormous.
One-party rule in China means systems of checks and balances are weak. The countrys leaders have battled corruption for years, but the success of economic reform has brought more opportunities for those with money to influence those with power and to profit from the ignorance of those who lack education.
Cao Mengjun, the inventor of Amazing Gel, said two years ago that more than 300,000 people in China had been injected with his miracle gel. Doctors fear that even 500,000 is a conservative estimate. But many patients are reluctant to come forward because they are ashamed and the nature of the injection is too personal. The product has been used not only on the face and in breasts, but also for penis enlargement and to narrow the vagina.
Mr Caos invention was based on a product imported from Ukraine. However, when Ukrainian suppliers halted sales in the late 1990s, amid concerns over how the material was being used in China, Mr Cao devised his own version.
Approval for his product from the food and drug supervision authorities came after only seven months of testing, instead of the required two years, and without any animal experiments.
Mrs Li said: Instead of white mice, the company used us.
The liquid was made by Fu Hua Pharmaceuticals in northeastern Jilin province. When big hospitals refused to use it, the company sold the gel to beauty salons, many of which operate illegally. The company plans to appeal against the ban.
Doctors say that no one knows how many procedures have gone wrong or even exactly what damage the gel can do. Mrs Qiao said: We just have to wait and see.
Mr Chen said he believed that profit was the prime motive behind the scandal. The saddest thing is that the liquid will move to other parts of the body. It can never be totally removed and it will stay with the woman throughout her life.
Just guessing but I suspect that women were hardest hit. I hope authorities stay abreast of the situation.
At least they weren't injected with Ao Mei Dung.
I wonder if they need any product liability lawyers to handle the suits. We have plenty that we can send them.
Probably just the tip of the problem.
It's a good thing that they're able to nip this now.
Then there is Ao Mei Dong for men. I wonder how that is doing in the Chinese market place.
Indeed. What a shame. She had a dream...well, 2 dreams, and now it's a double nightmare.
Your idea of "snakeoil capitalism" is very true. With new freedoms (as much as the Chinese might have) come the dangers, along with the blessings of a "free market".
I hope they have the opportunity to live and learn just like we did here.
Mr radium truss better not be snake oil. I paid good money for it. The tingling sensation means it's workin.
Ms. Li, in happier days
How did we all get so dang dissatisfied with the way we are?
<< Your (emotings about) snakeoil "capitalism" 9are0 very true. >>
There is no "capitalism" in "china."
Only various forms of systemic counterfeiting, copying, corruption, corporatism, colonialism, racketeering, gangsterism, standoverism, shakedownism, lyingism, lootingism, thievingism and mass-murderism of the sort Euro-peons believe bears any relationship to the FRee Market and call "democratic" socialism or "third way" socialism.
And nor, any place it does, any more, actually occur, aught any of the Euro-peons' Neo-Soviet's squalidly socialistic offshore satellite state's third-way socialists be permitted to presume to even understand Capitalism, let alone to attempt its definition.
That sorry socialist state's last economist worthy of the title lived between 1723 and 1790 and was, of course, a Celt!
Reminds me of back when I was a kid (late 40's) and they were puishing this stuff on the radio:
The stuff was 12% alcohol so it "cured" a lot of ills.
It is alleged that it was heavily used by the late Hank Williams.
I recall a similar story about some breast implants here in the US, only to a much much smaller degree of occurrance than this story.
The silicone breast implants leaked, or busted open and the stuff migrated around the body. It sounded terrible then, and considering the numbers stated in this story and the fact beauticians were administering it, this sounds even worse.
Homeopathic medicine, magnetic therpy, crystals, etc... Still lots of snake oil being sold here in America.