Mon, May 29, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take: Drug imports increased

Health authorities recently made an urgent request for pharmaceutical companies to step up imports of mercaptonpurine, a medicine used in treating acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), after several hospitals around the nation reported a shortage of the drug. The Department of Health has approved the hospitals' urgent application for importing products with the same ingredients and same dosage as Merpurine, the brand name of mercaptonpurine, an official said yesterday. ALL is a type of cancer that starts in the white blood cells of bone marrow, called lymphocytes. It is one of the most common types of leukemia for those under the age of 19. Children are most likely to develop the disease, but it can occur at any age. Although a small percentage of cases are associated with inherited genetic syndromes, the cause of ALL remains largely unknown.

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