Regulatory Focus™ > News Articles > China Finds 13 Drugs Made With Excessive Levels of Chromium

China Finds 13 Drugs Made With Excessive Levels of Chromium

Posted 17 April 2012 | By Alexander Gaffney, RAC 

China's State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) announced 15 April it had found 13 pharmaceutical products to have been manufactured with excessive levels of chromium and was suspending the sale of those products, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The chromium was found to have emanated from drug-capsule manufacturers in the Zhejiang province in China, which were reported to be using industrial gelatin instead of gelatin marked for human consumption. The industrial-grade gelatin contained excess levels of chromium-a heavy metal which is known to be carcinogenic in certain circumstances.

The state-run news service Xinhua stated authorities had arrested 22 people reportedly involved with the illicit manufacturing, which involved 11 types of traditional Chinese medicines and two types of antibiotics being made by 43 different manufacturers.

The chromium discovery raises troubling questions about the cost pressures being put on pharmaceutical manufacturers in the country and the ability of the SFDA to properly regulate those manufacturers, reports Reuters.

"The government often launches campaigns to safeguard consumers by cracking down on harmful chemicals added to food, yet regulatory oversight remains a major problem," notes Reuters.

Thanks to expanded access to healthcare and unique political pressures, "analysts say that China's drug manufacturers are facing increasing price pressures in the country," which are in turn leaving manufacturers with little choice other than to cut corners, explains Reuters.

Read more:

Wall Street Journal - China Halts Sale of Some Drugs (Subscription)

Fierce Pharma Manufacturing - China investigates 43 drug manufacturers tied to adulterated drug capsules

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