Corruption in China’s pharmaceutical industry has been fueling the production of crystal methamphetamine in Guangdong province, according to Jeremy Douglas, an official with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Douglas told the South China Morning Post that pharmaceutical companies supplied meth precursor chemicals and ingredients to the illegal drug manufacturers in exchange for money.
“To operate a lab like this, you need a lot of chemicals, which are legitimate, regulated chemicals from the pharmaceutical industry,” Douglas said.
“They’ve been doing it for a long time, which means they’re getting these chemicals on a regular basis,” he said.
In February, Chinese police seized 2.4 tons of methamphetamine in Lufeng district of Guangdong province, and arrested twenty-eight people operating the drug lab.
“There is some kind of corruption in the chemical or pharmaceutical industry taking place allowing this to happen,” Douglas said after Chinese officials briefed him about a drug bust earlier this year.
Guangdong has become a global production hub for methamphetamine. The drug is trafficked via Hong Kong to other countries.
Sources: South China Morning Post, AP, China Topix
Hui Zhi is the Senior Manager for Content with the China Compliance Digest, where a version of this post first appeared.