Related: Death toll over fake drug rises to
5 suspects in fake drug case taken to
Guangzhou for questioning
GUANGZHOU, May 23 (Xinhua) -- More details have
emerged about a Chinese pharmaceutical manufacturer who produced a fake drug
that killed nine people in south China's Guangdong Province.
Xinhua has learnt the alleged fraudulent chemical
dealer Wang Guiping forged licenses, including his business license, drug
registration and manufacturing licenses, to sell products to pharmaceutical
Wang allegedly sold one ton of diglycol, claiming it
was "propylene glycol", in the name of the Taixing General Chemical Plant in the
eastern Jiangsu Province to a pharmaceutical company in Heilongjiang Province.
He made a 7,500-yuan (937.5 U.S. dollars) profit on
the 14,500-yuan price, according to investigations by Jiangsu police and the
provincial drug administration.
The buyer, Qiqihar No. 2 Pharmaceutical Co.,Ltd.,
produced Armillarisni A with the chemical, resulting in the deaths of nine
people who used the drug in the southern Guangdong Province.
Armillarisni A is mainly administered as an injection
to treat acute or chronic cholecystitis and chronic and atrophic gastritis.
However, the Qiqihar company's products caused pain
in the alimentary canal and stomach, as well as kidney, liver and nerve damage,
said Liao Xinbo, vice-director of the Guangdong Provincial Department of Health.
Investigations by Jiangsu police and drug
administration also found Taixing General Chemical Plant had offered Wang its
invoices and allowed him to do business in its name on condition of a
one-percent return on the invoices.
However, Wang continued to trade in the name of
Taixing General Chemical Plant even after the plant ended its allegedly illegal
partnership with him in July 2005.
Wang, 40, a junior middle school graduate who trained
as a tailor and began trading in industrial chemicals in 2004, has been arrested
by Jiangsu police.
"Wang Guiping got reckless with greed, and the
Taixing plant gave him openings with pharmaceutical plants," said an anonymous
official with the Taixing Municipal Food and Drug Administration.
Cao Yongwen, director of the Qiqihar Municipal Food
and Drug Administration, told Xinhua that the Qiqihar pharmaceutical company
never identified the chemical as fake.
The company failed to test the so-called "propylene
glycol" as required under State Drug Administration regulations before buying
the chemical, nor did it cross-check the licenses provided by Wang Guiping, Cao
The company's analysts realized the material was
substandard, but the plant inexplicably still put it into production with the
consent of company executives, said a staff member who wanted to be identified
only as Wang.
After perfunctory tests, the company released the
Five company employees, including a materials buyer,
general manager, two deputy factory directors in charge of technology and
supply, and an analysis director, have been taken by police to Guangdong
Province for further questioning, Guangdong provincial government officials
The fake Armillarisni A drug was sold in Guangdong
for 10.5 yuan (1.31 U.S. dollars) per dose while its two competitors sold at
11.68 yuan (1.46 dollars) and 12.9 yuan (1.61 dollars), said Cai Quanmao, of the
Guangdong Provincial Department of Public Health.
Drug authorities in Guangdong Province reported on
May 3 that patients receiving the injection at the No.3 Hospital affiliated to
the Sun Yat-sen University had developed acute kidney failure, which prompted an
Premier Wen Jiabao has ordered government departments
to launcha thorough investigation into the incident and intensify supervision
and regulation of the pharmaceutical market.
The government has shut down the Qiqihar plant and
banned the sale of all its medicines. Efforts have also been made to trace and
recall drugs sold by the company.
The government has launched a review of
pharmaceutical plants nationwide after the incident. Enditem