Authorities in South Korea have announced that they have confiscated several pills containing the remains of human babies. The pills are not new, though, as China has been in the practice of using human remains in pill form and labeling them as "stamina boosters."
"Since human flesh capsules are confirmed to contain ingredients lethal to humans, including super bacteria, we will preemptively curb their smuggling at borders to protect public health," customs officials told South Korea's newspaper Dong-a Ilbo.
The material in the capsules reportedly comes from abortion clinics and hospitals looking to dispose of the remains. Pharmaceutical companies purchase the corpse, put them in a drying microwave and grind them into powder formula, according to a South Korean TV documentary.
In 2011, the same documentary ran tests to prove that 99.7 percent of the powder was human and often included hair and nails. At the time, there was a strong trade between South Korea and China's industries, but with the latest discovery comes talk of a full-scale crackdown on the trade.
China has been often criticized for its ribald medical practices. In 2011, the same year as the baby pill scandal was exposed, another plan by a certain sect of Chinese to farm rhinos for their horns was reported by Time magazine.
Chinese officials had previously stated that they had no intentions to permit rhino farming.
"The natural world is scarred with the unintended consequences of what those only interested in profit might consider 'good business plans,'" Tom Milliken of the protective group Traffic told Time. "The scale of the Chinese market is potentially so awesome, one miscalculation and we potentially could lose entire species, poached to meet the rising demand."
A recent report by the Traffic states that rhino horns are worth $66,000 per kilogram on the black market. The demand may not come from China, however.
"It's very rare in China to use rhino horn in medicine. People's attitudes have shifted since 1993 … There is relatively little demand in China now, especially for medicinal use. The demand mainly comes from Vietnam," spokeswoman Luo Anan told the American Foreign Press.