More Heilongjiang firm's drugs found to be unsafe

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 May, 2006, 12:00am

Fears about the output of a Heilongjiang drug company grew yesterday with confirmation that a potentially lethal compound whose use in a drug has been blamed for at least five deaths was also used to make four other drugs.

The Qiqihar No2 Pharmaceutical Co made defective batches of armillarisin A using diglycol rather than propylene glycol.

Yesterday, the Heilongjiang Food and Drug Administration told Xinhua that tests showed the company had wrongly used diglycol instead of propylene glycol in five pharmaceutical lines.

The other drugs include a paracetamol for children and a painkiller.

The authority did not say what quantities had been made, nor where they were distributed.

A television report in Heilongjiang said the company knew it had been supplied with diglycol, but that the factory head had ordered that production continue.

Guangdong authorities say the defective doses of armillarisin A - used to treat gall bladder, liver and gastric disorders - have killed five patients at the Sun Yat-Sen University No3 Affiliated Hospital in the past fortnight. Four other families claim their relatives also died from injections of the drug.

The hospital is still treating five survivors. One, Hainan man Ren Zhenchao , had a liver and kidney transplant on Wednesday.