Safety problems found at blood collecting stations

Updated: 2007-07-11 19:26

Six people were jailed for organizing illegal blood sales in southern China, and blood collection centers in two other provinces were fined or shut down after they failed to prescreen donors, newspapers reported Wednesday.

To safeguard against further infractions, the Ministry of Health ordered all blood collection centers to install cameras by the end of October to monitor every donation, the South China Morning Post reported.

China outlawed blood sales 10 years ago after it was discovered that trade in tainted blood, especially in the central province of Henan, had passed the HIV virus to thousands of people in the 1990s.

Six people in southern China's Guangdong province have been jailed for illegally organizing blood sales and helping people repeatedly sell blood under false names, Hong Kong's South China Morning Post said, citing Health Ministry spokesman Mao Qunan.

The director of Guangdong's Jieyang municipal blood center was fired, and one of his deputies and a local health department official were punished, Mao said, according to the paper. No details were given.

In Shanxi province one blood collection station did not screen donors and failed to keep proper records of the donors' identities, the report said. Similar problems were discovered at a blood station in Hunan which was run by a biomedical products company.

As a result, all blood collections stations in Shanxi were ordered closed, while the one in Hunan was fined 10,000 yuan (US$1320), the South China Morning Post said.

The report did not say whether any of the blood or the biomedical company's blood products were contaminated.

Earlier this year, a shortage of albumin _ a blood protein that chronically ill people often lack _ triggered a nationwide investigation into whether fake products were being sold. Several thousand bottles of counterfeit blood protein were discovered at hospitals and pharmacies, and state media have said one person died from use of the fakes.

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