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Premier orders thorough probe into fake drug incident
Latest Updated by 2006-05-22 09:58:07
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Premier Wen Jiabao has ordered government departments to launch a thorough investigation into a fake drug incident, which claimed five lives, and intensify the straightening out of the pharmaceu tical market.

"Those directly responsible for the incident and those who fail to fulfill their supervisory duties will be punished," Wen said, who also ordered the tracking down and sealing up of fake drugs that have reached various regions to ensure the safety of people's lives.

In response to his instructions, a joint investigation work group will head to northeast China's Heilongjiang Province on Saturday.

The investigation team consists of officials from the Ministry of Supervision, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Health and the State Food and Drug Administration.

"The team will work with the provincial government to find out the cause of incident as soon as possible, penalize criminals in accordance with the law and severely punish the relevant people," said a member of the investigation work group.

He said results of the investigation will be made public in due course.

China has stepped up the accountability of officials in its drive to build a clean and efficient government. A number of government officials have been removed from office for neglect of duty in various fields, including environmental protection, public health and production safety.

The grave pollution of northeast China's Songhua River last Nov. led to the resignation of Xie Zhenhua, head of China's State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA).

A total of 11 people have fallen victim to the fake Armillarisni A injection made by the Qiqihar No. 2 Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. Five of them have died.

The government has shut down the plant and banned the sale of all medicines made by the plant. Efforts have also been made to track down and seal up relevant drugs sold to various regions.

The police have detained the suspect Wang Guiping and put other people involved in the case in custody.

"The pharmaceutical market is in disorder," Wen said.

According to initial government investigations, the company purchased one ton of "propylene glycol" from drug dealer Wang Guiping in Sept. 2005 as auxiliary material for producing the Armillarisni A Injection.

The "propylene glycol" delivered by Wang is actually diglycol, an industrial material which causes acute kidney failure if taken by humans. The company's quality inspectors failed to discover the problem. Using diglycol, the company produced the injection, mainly for treating acute or chronic cholecystitis and chronic and atrophic gastritis.

Drug authorities in south China's Guangdong Province reported on May 3 that patients using the injection had developed acute kidney failure symptoms, which prompted immediate investigations into the case.

Further probes reveal that the Qiqihar No. 2 Pharmaceutical Co.,Ltd. had been producing four other fake drugs before its closure.

The State Food and Drug Administration has launched a comprehensive examination of quality control measures of pharmaceutical companies nationwide from raw materials purchase to material management and delivery of finished products.

It will also launch a special nationwide campaign soon to rectify and regulate the pharmaceuticals market.

The general public complain a lot about high medicine prices and ads that exaggerate medicine effects. High medicine prices are believed to be caused by prevalent commercial bribery in the pharmaceutical industry.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China View website
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