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Fraudulent dealer forges licenses to sell fatal fake chemical
www.chinaview.cn 2006-05-23 19:59:42

Related: Death toll over fake drug rises to 9
            
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 companies.

    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 said.

    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 manufactured products.

    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 said.

    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 immediate investigation.

    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

Editor: Liu Dan
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