Third party may be used for testing

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 March, 2009, 12:00am

The Department of Health will consider requiring that drug manufacturers have their products tested by a third party in the wake of scandals involving two local pharmaceutical factories.

Department chief pharmacist Chan Wing-kin said yesterday it would review its supervision of the drug market. His comments came after scandals over products made by Marching Pharmaceutical Ltd (MPL) and Europharm Laboratories.

The department said MPL had extended its products' expiry date beyond their shelf life, and a Europharm-manufactured drug has been linked to the deaths by fungal infection of six hospital patients.

MPL, which has been ordered to recall the 216 products it makes, has increased from three to 36 the number of pharmacies people can return its products to. It has asked people to return products by March 28.

Mr Chan said the recent drug scandals had affected people's confidence in the government. He vowed to block any loopholes in the supervision system.

'We will put our focus on high-risk procedures during the production process, such as the stocking period of semi-finished products, when conducting checks,' he said.

The department was also studying the possibility of asking drug factories to provide test data relating to their products from an independent laboratory, he added.

'This could be an efficient way to prevent any forgery of data and ensure drug quality,' Mr Chan said.