02/07/2019, 14.49
CHINA
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Another scandal hits Chinese health care as HIV-contaminated plasma is found

The National Health Commission (Nhc) ordered the cessation of the use of the immunoglobulin produced by Shanghai Xinxing Pharmaceutical. The authorities have made however conflicting statements. According to the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA), the samples it examined were free of HIV and hepatitis B and C. The authorities announce that no patient has contracted the virus after treatment. Still, many fear for the safety of drugs produced by the state. Recently, anti-rabies and polio vaccines were found to be unsafe.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – A batch of more than 12,000 blood plasma treatments produced by a state-owned pharmaceutical company in China was found to have been contaminated with HIV.

Yesterday, the National Health Commission (NHC) said it has instructed medical institutions to cease use of the batch of intravenous immunoglobulin produced by Shanghai Xinxing Pharmaceutical.

However, the authorities have made conflicting statements about human blood plasma treatments. The National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) yesterday said that samples they had examined were free of HIV and hepatitis B and C.

According to local media, the tainted batch number 20180610Z includes 12,229 50ml bottles of plasma, which carry an expiry date of Jun 8, 2021. 

No one appears to have contracted HIV, a representative of Jiangxi Provincial Disease Control Centre said.

For its part, the NHC, citing experts, noted the risk of HIV infection is very low for those who received the treatment. Nevertheless, a follow-up monitoring programme has been arranged.

Shanghai Xinxing Pharmaceutical has been instructed to halt production of the vaccine and to initiate an emergency recall.

The latest scandal is but one in a series that has affected China’s health care system in recent months.

On Saturday, authorities said they disciplined more than 80 officials, who were fired or demoted, in connection with an anti-rabies vaccine scandal last year that stoked public fears over the safety of domestically produced drugs.

Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology was slapped with a US$ 1.3 billion fine in October after it was found to have fabricated records.

In addition to corruption and poor quality controls, experts blame protectionism for the problem since foreign pharmaceutical companies are kept out of the Chinese market.

Last month, police in China's eastern province of Jiangsu began an investigation after at least 145 children received expired polio vaccines.

Hundreds of parents protested against the Licheng Health Centre in Jinhu County (Jiangsu), clashing with police.

Following an investigation, 17 officials were fired and expelled from the Party.

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