US should not fan fear in the global economy by faulting China

By Zhou Qing Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/12 19:53:40

Illustration: Luo Xuan/GT

New Jersey-based insulin pump maker Valeritas has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, listing novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) as an uncertainty. The long-troubled medical company has exaggerated the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and measures adopted by the Chinese government to combat the epidemic. Certain media have also bloated the issue, fanning fear and creating anti-China sentiment around the world. 

Valeritas produces its flagship product V-Go for Type 2 diabetes in rural areas of southern China, and holds the coronavirus epidemic and corresponding Chinese government measures accountable for its interrupted supply of V-Go in its bankruptcy petition. 

However, Valeritas had already been experiencing supply trouble last year, and its bankruptcy filing seems to be a means to push through a bid for its purchase made by Zealand Pharma, a biotechnology company in Denmark. Though Valeritas may be experiencing some inconvenience due to the COVID-19 outbreak in China and efforts to fight the virus, that should be short-lived. 

The spread of COVID-19, particularly outside the epicenter of the outbreak, has begun to slow down with fewer new confirmed cases reported outside Hubei for eight consecutive days. In batches, companies in many industries - the manufacturing industry in particular - have resumed operations. Valeritas' three-month inventory stock should be sufficient to keep the company afloat until manufacturing restarts. 

Media have published panic-provoking headlines, like Bloomberg's "Coronavirus Squeezed Bankrupt Diabetes Tech Seller Valeritas." The Wall Street Journal's "Medical Device Maker Valeritas Files for Bankruptcy Citing Coronavirus" headline draws a connection between COVID-19 and bankruptcy, omitting much relevant information. 

Compared to the uncertainty brought about by its Chinese supplier, headstrong US measures that could interrupt the packing and shipping of the products to the US are more worrisome. Chinese products now face intensified inspection and quarantine standards at US customs. The highest-level travel ban enforced by the US against China has already taken its toll on normal China-US trade and investment activities. 

Countries should be making joint efforts to combat the virus. Certain US media and industries are working against such a goal through fear-mongering and by exaggerating the situation. They are jumping at the chance to use the coronavirus outbreak to pin blame on China for any difficulties US companies run into. 

The case of Valeritas is not the first and will not be the last. As long as the US continues to view China through a colored lens, it will never stop faulting China. Amid the ongoing epidemic and while the global economy is under pressure, bad news sells. The US should not worsen the situation by manufacturing more unnecessary fear.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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