Charges dropped against mom smuggling banned drug to treat sick son

Wang Qingchu
Henan prosecutors agree to life-saving motive behind woman transporting psychotropic drug for 1-year-old son's incurable disease.
Wang Qingchu
Charges dropped against mom smuggling banned drug to treat sick son
Jinan Times

Li and her ailing 1-year-old son

Prosecutors in a central Chinese county have dropped charges of smuggling, transporting and selling drugs against a mother who helped transfer a psychotropic drug that is life-saving for her son, suffering from a rare and incurable disease, but banned in China.

The decision was made because the mother of the 1-year-old boy with the rare epileptic syndrome called EIMFS was a "first-time offender, an accomplice, committed the offenses because she wanted to save her ailing son and didn't make profits," said Zhongmou County People's Procuratorate in Henan Province on November 23, reported Jinan Times today.

"I just want him to live long enough for when there will be a cure so that at least he knows who I am," the mother surnamed Li said.

The case rekindled memories of a leukemia patient, Lu Yong, who smuggled unapproved Indian-made generic drugs for himself and 1,000 other patients to get medicines at an affordable price.

Lu was charged with credit card fraud and the sale of counterfeit drugs in July 2014. More than 300 patients and their families signed a petition to have him acquitted because they just wanted to survive. The charges were eventually dropped in January 2015.

The drug Lu bought from India later became covered by the nation's health insurance system in 2017, significantly relieving patients' financial burdens.

Charges dropped against mom smuggling banned drug to treat sick son

Lu Yong attends the premiere of the movie "Dying to Survive" which was based on his story in Beijing on July 3, 2018.

Banned drug

Li's son was diagnosed with the rare disease after he had serious seizures when he was only 3 months old. Besides the high death risk, the disease also caused his mental and physical development to stop.

Doctors advised the baby could try Frisium, but the medication is nowhere to be found in Chinese hospitals as China has banned it as an addictive psychotropic drug.

Li then bought smuggled drugs from resellers who were also parents of children with similar medical conditions.

After taking Frisium, her son's condition improved dramatically as the frequencies of the seizures largely reduced.

In June, a reseller asked Li to receive a package of Frisium from Italy and deliver it to him in China. Without too much thought, Li did as was told.

Police investigating the alleged smuggling of drugs visited Li in September.

"The charges against Li were unreasonable," said Jasper Zhang, a partner of Shanghai Shen Kang Law Firm.

"Li didn't have the intention to commit crime. She should have recognized that such a drug is a controlled item, but didn't realize that the medication would be characterized as drugs, and that she purchased them on behalf of her sick child, not to provide them to others for profits," said Zhang.

"All I want is a legal means to buy the drug," Li said, adding that she didn't want to see any other parents break the law for trying to save their kids.

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