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Watchdog may blacklist some pharmaceutical companies

Updated: 2012-06-01 02:45
By Zhou Wenting in Shanghai ( China Daily)

The country's top drug watchdog is soliciting public opinions on a proposal to blacklist law-breaking producers and sellers.

The move is seen by experts as the latest effort to salvage public confidence after many pharmaceutical companies were reported to be producing chromium-contaminated capsules that could potentially cause cancer.

The blacklist will contain companies and people that "severely" violate the safety rules in manufacturing and selling medicine and medical equipment, according to draft regulation posted on the website of the State Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday.

The administration invited the public to send comments before June 6.

Those who make or sell fake or substandard medicine, forge materials to apply for licenses, and produce medical equipment without credentials may be put on the list, according to the proposal.

The blacklist will be made available through government websites and media releases.

Companies on the blacklist will be monitored by the drug watchdog, said Wang Lianglan, a spokesperson for the agency.

Supervisors will inspect companies on the list more often and demand periodic quality management reports.

The proposal aims to ensure drug safety, deter violations of the law and build a credit system to track drug companies, the administration said.

The move comes after public confidence on drug safety reached a low when more than 200 pharmaceutical companies were reported to be using industrial gelatin to produce drug capsules. Industrial gelatin contains an excessive amount of chromium.

Some experts said the blacklist may deter illegal drug makers.

"If blacklisted, a company will lose its reputation and that will deal a heavy blow to sales. The cost of violating the rules will increase significantly," said Sun Zhongshi, an expert with the National Rational Drug Use Monitoring System, which operates under the Ministry of Health.

However, some consumers doubt that the blacklist will be effective.

"A malicious enterprise can apply for a new production certificate to dodge oversight. How can we stop that from happening?" asked Zhang Liqing, a 36-year-old Shanghai resident.

"It's important to determine a period of validity for the blacklist. Those who continue with their bad practices should be expelled from the trade forever," Sun said.

Shan Juan in Beijing contributed to this story.

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