Firm in hepatitis C scare linked to killer antibiotic

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 January, 2007, 12:00am

The boss of a Guangdong drug factory blamed for a hepatitis C scare was the province's biggest vendor of a toxic antibiotic that killed nine people in Guangzhou last year, state media said yesterday.

The Market Daily reported that Guangdong Bioyee Pharmaceuticals owner Zhang Zhenhai was also the owner of a trading company that was the main distributor in Guangdong of toxic armillarisin A, made in Qiqihar . Doses of the antibiotic killed nine people in Guangzhou and at least three more in other parts of the country in May.

Bioyee is accused of producing intravenous immunoglobulin tainted with hepatitis C. Drug authorities across the mainland were still scouring pharmacy shelves for stocks of the blood product yesterday, while health authorities were trying to trace patients.

The Bioyee scandal surfaced last week after patients injected with the immunoglobulin in Beijing hospitals were later found to be infected with hepatitis C.

The report said Bioyee was awarded a Good Manufacturing Practice certificate in November despite warnings in August from the Guangdong Health Department about illegal blood purchases.

Beijing media said authorities had discovered and sealed 68,558 bottles of the defective injections. Other reports said more than 8,000 bottles had been found in Heilongjiang , Anhui , Shanghai, Chongqing and Jiangxi .