China approves plan to strengthen drug safety

Updated: 2011-12-07 21:53


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BEIJING - The State Council, or the Cabinet, on Wednesday approved a blueprint to establish a credit rating system and intensify monitoring for pharmaceutical groups to boost the country's drug safety over the next five years.

"Our country's pharmaceutical companies are experiencing various problems such as the lack of an integrated credit system, inadequate supervision and a weak technical foundation. Medicinal safety is in a high-risk stage," according to a statement released Wednesday after a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao.

The 2011-2015 plan set the general goal of "sharply" increasing the level of safety and people's satisfaction toward drugs by ensuring all pharmaceutical products meet the standards of a newly revised regulation on the quality management of medical products as of the end of 2015, said the statement.

According to the plan, the country will also step up efforts to improve its standards for chemical medicines and biological products in line with the international level and take the lead in making international standards for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

While strengthening the quality management in all phases of the drug manufacturing and medical apparatus, the plan also urges improvements in labs' and health organizations' capabilities to inspect drugs across the country, especially at the county and city levels.

"We should improve the monitoring for adverse effects and drug abuse as well as the re-evaluation system for medicines after they enter the market, with a special focus on new and high-risk medicines and TCM injections," said the statement.

Other key objectives include ensuring the supply of basic medicine, establishing a credit rating system for drug companies, and regulating the pricing and circulation of medical products.

According to the statement, those who manufacture or sell counterfeit drugs should be severely punished, and business people with a history of serious misconduct should be banned from working in the pharmaceutical industry.