Drug firm's use of bile, IPO plan under fire

Updated: 2012-02-07 13:36


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"How can a company living on hurting animals come into the market?" was an online outcry against a company that produces medicines made from bear bile attempting to get publicly listed, the Beijing Morning Post reported Tuesday.

The objection comes as Guizhentang Pharmaceutical Co, which makes drugs containing bear bile, a fluid secreted by the liver, is hoping to increase its production through a public listing, according to an Initial Public Offerings (IPO) declaration form issued by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) on Feb 1.

Drug firm's use of bile, IPO plan under fire

A photo posted on Sina Weibo, a Chinese micro-blogging service, shows a protester wearing a bear costume and holding an anti-Guizhentang sign in front of a Guizhentang store. [Photo/weibo.com]

The company said it has the technology to collect bile in five to eight minutes without causing pain to the bears, according to its official website.

"Do you believe that stabbing a bear's gall bladder twice a day is painless and will not affect health?" said some bloggers, who criticized the company and opposed the listing plan.

The company raises 400 black bears and plans to expand the farming to 1,200 by raising funds through going public.

Bear bile, a common ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine and used in other Asian countries, is believed to benefit the liver and eyes.

Since the 1980s, captive breeding has replaced the original method of killing wild black bears to get the bile. However, animal welfare activists have criticized the methods to extract bear bile as cruel and inhumane.