21 held liable for Qiqihar drugs scandal

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 July, 2006, 12:00am

The Ministry of Supervision has found 21 people liable for the Qiqihar drug scandal that led to the deaths of at least 11 people in Guangzhou in April and May.

A China Central Television report last night said 10 cases had been passed to judicial authorities for possible prosecution, while the rest had been punished under party and government rules. It did not name government officials.

The report also said the state drug supervision authority had revoked the production licence of the Qiqihar No2 Pharmaceutical Company, the Heilongjiang manufacturer that was the source of the defective medicine.

A fake drug was discovered in late April and early May when an unknown number of patients at Sun Yat-sen University's No3 Affiliated Hospital in Guangzhou suffered from acute kidney failure after receiving injections of armillarisin A - a medicine used for liver, gall bladder and gastric ailments.

An investigation headed by the Ministry of Supervision found the drug was made using an industrial chemical 'diglycol', a compound that causes acute kidney failure.

CCTV quoted the State Council as saying: 'The fake drug case exposed obvious problems in drug production and distribution in our country and also uncovered cracks in our management authority.'

The State Council also announced yesterday that 33 people had been held responsible for the Dongfeng coal mine blast in Heilongjiang in November which killed 171 miners. So far, 11 of the 33 cases had been handed over to judicial authorities.

Heilongjiang deputy governor Liu Haisheng was recorded as having committed an administrative mistake and the Heilongjiang government was ordered to submit a review of its failings to the State Council.