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More evidence of contamination in Chinese drug ingredients

  The New York Times reported on January 31 that Shanghai Hualian, a subsidiary of the state-owned conglomerate Shanghai Pharmaceutical Group, had been identified as the operator of a factory that produced contaminated leukemia drugs.  The drugs were contaminated with a third cancer treatment chemical, vincristine sulfate, and caused paralysis in nearly 200 Chinese patients who received it.  Apparently approximately one-half of the leukemia patients have suffered permanent paralysis.

The same company has declared its intention to sell half a dozen other chemicals in the United States, although the FDA would not confirm that fact.  It also is the sole manufacturer of the drug RU 486, mifepristone, the so-called "abortion drug"for the American market.  The latter drug is manufactured at a different facility which was reportedly inspected by the FDA in May.

In 2002, two  shipments of the company's drugs were denied entry into the United States; one because it was an antibiotic not approved for use in this country, and the other--a diuretic--because it was "falsely or misleadingly labeled".  The drug company Pfizer acknowledged that it had declined to buy ingredients from this Chinese manufacturer because of safety concerns which have yet to be satisfied by the company.

After numerous drug contamination scandals in the past several years, the chief regulator of Chinese pharmaceuticals was executed last year by the Chinese government.

You may read the New York Times article here.

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