BEIJING/KUNMING/HARBIN, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- China on
Wednesday suspended distribution and medical use of a herbal injection produced
by a pharmaceutical firm based in the northeast Heilongjiang Province.
Six patients in the southwestern Yunnan Province
reported a strong adverse reaction after taking injections containing extracts
of the plant Ciwujia, or Siberian ginseng, produced by the Heilongjiang-based
Wandashan Pharmaceutical, according to a notice issued on the websites of the
Ministry of Health and State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA).
The six, all natives of the Honghe autonomous
prefecture, mainly populated by the Hani and Yi ethnic people, began to feel
cold or showed symptoms of vomiting, going comatose or dropping blood pressure
when they were injected with the drug at about 10 a.m. on Sunday at the No. 4
People's Hospital, said Li Changwei, the Honghe health bureau vice director.
Three died in the hospital on Monday.
The bureau and the Honghe drug watchdog immediately
sent investigators to the hospital after receiving a report.
The provincial food and drug watchdogs of Yunnan and
Heilongjiang have ordered a suspension of sales and usage of the medicine.
All hospitals are ordered to pay close attention to
possible adverse reactions among patients, according to Li Bin, head of the
Heilongjiang health bureau.
On Wednesday, an inspection team sent by the ministry
and SFDA arrived at Mishan City in eastern Heilongjiang, where the firm is
located. Another team was heading for Yunnan to investigate.
Phone calls to the company remained unanswered on
Health departments and local drug administrations
were informed to follow similar cases. To date, the SFDA had not received any
such reports from other parts of China except Yunnan, the notice said.
Siberian ginseng injections are often used to help
treat thrombosis caused by a weak liver and kidney. It is also helpful for
curing coronary heart disease, neurasthenia and climacteric