Monday, September 17, 2007

China recalls leukaemia drugs in safety scare

How many times are we going to see headlines like these?...

as if luekemia patients didn't have enough to deal with...

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has recalled leukaemia drugs produced by a Shanghai drug company after several children suffered side effects, the latest in a series of product safety scares to hit China, Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.

Xinhua said "most" of the relevant drugs produced by Hualian Pharmaceutical Co had been recalled, according to the Shanghai municipal government media office.

Earlier this month, the government suspended production and sale of the generic drugs -- methotrexate and cytarabin hydrochloride.

Xinhua did not say how widely the drugs had been distributed or whether any had been exported.

Several children suffering from leukaemia in three hospitals of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Shanghai City felt pain in their legs and some had difficulty walking after being injected with the methotrexate drug in early July, according to the report.

Investigations showed several batches of the two drugs had been contaminated during production, Xinhua said. The factories were closed pending the outcome of the investigation.

China has come under pressure from Washington and elsewhere regarding the safety of exports ranging from toys to toothpaste.

In the wake of several widely publicized product recalls, Beijing has launched a nationwide campaign to improve product quality and food safety.

Xinhua also said authorities had reprimanded dozens of factories in eastern Zhejiang province after finding that 40 percent of the children's clothing they produced did not meet quality standards.

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