Death prompts the authorities to recall dangerous antibiotic

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 August, 2006, 12:00am

The mainland authorities have ordered a nationwide recall of an antibiotic produced by a state-backed pharmaceutical company in Anhui province following reports of at least one death and dozens of adverse reactions to the drug.

The Ministry of Health and the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) late on Thursday ordered hospitals to stop using clindamycin phosphate glucose (CPG) injections manufactured since June by the Anhui Huayuan Biopharmaceutical Company.

The two central government agencies also ordered hospitals to stop buying the antibiotic from the company after 38 patients in Qinghai, Guangxi, Zhejiang, Heilongjiang and Shandong came down with a range of symptoms, from nausea to chest pain and liver damage, following treatment with the medication. A six-year-old girl from Harbin , Heilongjiang, died in July after being injected with the drug, the People's Daily reported.

The SFDA received a report on July 27 that 14 people in Qinghai had health problems after taking Huayuan's CPG injection. The other cases emerged later.

The company is based in Fuyang , in Anhui province, and is owned by the government-backed China Worldbest Group, the mainland's biggest drug maker.

So far 6,300 CPG doses have been recalled, the Shanghai Evening News reported. The SFDA and Health Ministry have entrusted Anhui's drug administration with investigating the product's manufacture and distribution. Details of its assessment had not been released by yesterday afternoon.

'A lot of the government officials went to the plant for this investigation,' a provincial government spokesman in Hefei said. The SFDA issued a circular in 2003 about adverse reactions triggered by CPG injections, reminding doctors to be careful about its use and to pay attention to the volume administered, the injection speed and treatment period.

In April and May, substandard drugs manufactured by the Qiqihar No2 Pharmaceutical Company left at least 11 people dead in Guangzhou.