China suspends sales of defective blood-drug

Updated: 2007-01-24 20:46

BEIJING -- China has suspended the production and sale of a drug, which is an extract of human blood, after people being treated with it tested positive for hepatitis C antibodies, announced officials with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA).

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Almost 90,000 doses of the drug produced by Guangdong Bioyee Pharmaceutical Co, Ltd, have been recalled, said the officials.

In Beijing 68,558 bottles of the drug have been recalled, along with 20,000 bottles in Guangdong province.

The officials did not reveal how many people taking the drug had been infected with hepatitis C antibodies.

The drug is made from donated human blood and is used to boost the users' immune system.

Doctor Jia Jidong, of the Beijing Friendship Hospital, said not everyone with hepatitis C antibodies in their blood have will fall ill with the diseases.

He estimated that about 50 to 85 percent of those tested positive for antibodies will end up contracting the disease.

Jia said it can take up to eight weeks before symptoms to appear.

Mao Qun'an, spokesman with the MOH said local hospitals will keep an close eye on patients who received the drug made from human immunoglobulin, which are proteins that behave like antibodies.

The SFDA said the company was unable to provide a record of production and testing of the drug.

On January 16, the MOH announced it was revoking the manufacturing certificates of the Bioyee Parmaceutical Co. Ltd and Haikou Kangliyuan Group. Both were found to be violating drug producing standards following an investigation last December.

Dr. Jia says if the company had followed proper manufacturing procedures the hepatitis C antibodies would have been killed and users would not have been infected.

Hepatitis C is a liver diseases and although symptoms are relatively mild compared with other types of hepatitis, it can become chronic and lead to liver cancer.

According to the national Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 40 million Chinese carry the hepatitis C virus. The number of new cases jumped to about 60,000 in 2005 from 20,000 in 2003.

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