Thu, Jan 25, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Chinese authorities probe dangerous blood products

AP , SHANGHAI

China's food and drug officials are investigating a company they say used illegally procured blood stocks to make immunoglobulin and other drugs, infecting patients with hepatitis C.

Guangdong Bioyee Pharmaceutical "acted illegally in the production of immunoglobulin and some products had caused hepatitis C infections in patients," the State Food and Drug Administration and its Guangdong branch said in statements posted on the agencies' Web sites.

The case is the latest in a series of reports of substandard, bogus or tainted pharmaceuticals that have prompted calls for stricter enforcement of safety standards.

Officials in Guangdong, which borders Hong Kong, refused comment when contacted by phone yesterday, referring reporters to the written statements.

The telephone number for Bioyee was not registered.

China outlawed blood sales in 2003, after it was discovered that unclean blood buying businesses, especially in the central province of Henan, had passed the HIV/AIDS virus to thousands of people in the 1990s. But with voluntary donations running below demand, reports of the practice persist.

According to media reports, Bioyee allegedly forged its production licenses and distributed defective products.

Sales of the company's products have been suspended, the Food and Drug Administration's statement said.

It said a team of investigators was sent to Guangdong to look into the case.

Hong Kong's South China Morning Post reported yesterday that a 24-year-old public health student from Hainan Island planned to file suit after authorities failed to respond to her complaints that she had been infected with hepatitis C after receiving an immunoglobulin injection -- meant to boost her immune system -- at a Beijing hospital.

"The agencies were sloppy in the administration of quality control and production licenses, and the neglect is ridiculous and unbearable," it quoted the woman, Lu Ting, as saying. "How could they be so unfeeling as to let an illegal producer make defective products and inject them into patients? It's like injecting a virus directly into human bodies."

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