Fri, Nov 24, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take


■ Health
Flu shot program extended

Free flu shots are now available to all those under the age of three and above the age of 60 after health authorities decided to relax the age limits. Previously shots were only available to those below the age of two or above 65. "We have plenty of shots in stock" said Chou Chih-hao (周志浩), deputy director-general of the Center for Disease Control, "so we have decided to make the shots available to the next most vulnerable groups." The public have not been getting flu shots at the same rate as in previous years, Chou said, a fact which he attributed to the mildness of the weather so far this year.

■ Politics

Chen Chu misses photo

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) candidate for the Kaohsiung mayoral election, Chen Chu (陳菊), missed a planned meeting yesterday at which the president was supposed to endorse her. It had been arranged that Chen Chu would "run into" President Chen at an event at a trade and economy park in Kaohsiung, but the former arrived late, missing the president. While posing for photographs, President Chen gestured at Chen Chu's ballot number, No. 5, to indicate his support for her. Hung Chih-kun (洪智坤), Chen Chu's campaign manager, said that plans were underway for President Chen to campaign for Chen Chu. DPP Taipei mayoral candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), meanwhile, said on Tuesday that he did not need any "big-shots" to stump for him. He conceded the next day, however, that he would welcome an endorsement from President Chen, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) or Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌).

■ Health

Lens solution recalled

Advanced Medical Optics Inc (AMO), the US maker of contact lens-related products, has announced a voluntary recall of two of its products over concerns that drops from its Chinese production facility are not thoroughly sanitized. "This is a voluntary recall," said Lin Shiow-jan (林秀娟), section chief at the Department of Health's Pharmaceutical Affairs Department. "We're glad to see that AMO has done the responsible thing." The two affected products are Complete Moisture Plus Multi-Purpose Solution, lot number ZB0391, and Complete Blink-N-Clean Lens Drops, lot number ZB02924. According to a department press release, AMO estimates that a total of 19,000 bottles of products were affected. Consumers should stop using the products and call 0800 300 007 to ask for an exchange or refund. The department said there had been no reports of adverse effects from anyone using the products in Taiwan.

■ Corruption

NHI under investigation

The Tainan District Prosecutors' Office sent three prosecutors to Taipei yesterday to gather evidence at the Bureau of National Health Insurance (NHI). The investigation concerns suspected corruption involving exaggerated pharmaceutical costs that possibly cost the NHI billions of dollars. The Central News Agency reported that the Tainan District Prosecutors' Office began investigating the case in May and has already collected evidence from numerous medical centers and pharmaceutical companies. Spokesman Wang Je-chau (王哲超) said the Department of Health would not comment on the issue until the situation was clarified. "They're collecting information on the case right now. It's not appropriate for us to comment," Wang said.

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