The ban on Marching Pharmaceuticals, the company accused of forging product reports and illegally extending the expiry date of some products, has been extended indefinitely because it has not met the health department's requirements. The drug maker's licence was revoked on March 12 for a month, during which time it was required to overhaul the way its technicians operated and to apply to deregister all its 216 products from the list of approved drugs in Hong Kong. But a department spokeswoman said yesterday the company had deregistered only 120 drugs and had not changed its staffing structure. She said the Pharmacy and Poisons Board licensing committee had decided on April 9 that the company's licence would be revoked indefinitely until improvements were made. The department had informed the police and an investigation was under way. A company spokeswoman, who claimed on Tuesday that the company had resumed production, declined to comment yesterday. A pharmacists' leader said the firm's integrity had been hit hard and would be difficult to rebuild. 'The local pharmaceutical industry is small and there are always alternative procurement choices,' William Chui Chun-ming, education director of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists, said. But extension of the ban would not have a big impact on anyone outside the industry as the Hospital Authority did not use any of the company's products, and most were low-risk drugs, he said. 'It is totally understandable that the department extended the ban. Citizens would be better protected if the standards of the drug maker had been raised.' The firm came under scrutiny on February 25 when the department found products with expiry dates longer than they should have been.