China says it is not a center for fake drugs
May 26, 2009
According to the Associated Press, China has been unfairly branded a center of fake drugs, an official with the country''s drug watchdog said recently, blaming instead some overseas companies that source their raw materials through illegal suppliers. China''s pharmaceutical industry is lucrative but poorly regulated. Chinese manufacturers and other players along the drug supply chain have been blamed in recent years for deaths linked to counterfeit or shoddy medications at home and abroad. Chinese suppliers were blamed last year for the deadly contamination of the blood thinner heparin, which was recalled in the United States after reports of deaths and hundreds of allergic reactions. As many as 81 died. Raw heparin is derived from pig intestines, often processed by small, unregistered businesses in China. China has also recalled drugs and herbal medicines on the domestic market. Counterfeit versions of popular drugs, such as Pfizer Inc.''s Viagra, are widely available. A diabetes drug was pulled in January after it was linked to two deaths in the far western region of Xinjiang. Samples showed the medicine contained six times the normal amount of a chemical ingredient used to lower blood sugar. China''s SFDA counted 329,613 cases of distribution of unlicensed drugs and medical products in 2007, according to the China Daily newspaper.