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China recalls tainted leukaemia drugs

The Chinese state food and drug administration orders the recall of two contaminated leukaemia drugs which have caused adverse reactions among children

The Chinese state food and drug administration (SFDA) has ordered the recall of two contaminated leukaemia drugs which have caused adverse reactions among children.

The drugs, the majority of which were produced by a Shanghai-based pharmaceutical company have already been recovered and authorities have reportedly tracked down the remainder, according to local media reports.

The Chinese Health Ministry and the SFDA suspended production and sale of methotrexate and cytarabin, after receiving reports that several child leukaemia patients had suffered mobility impairments after treatment. The drugs had also caused urine retention among some leukaemia patients.

Both authorities said the drugs were contaminated with an anti-cancer medicine which had been added mistakenly during production and the factories manufacturing the drugs have been closed.

The new head of the new food, drug and product safety teams in China, vice-premier Wu Yi, or the "Iron Lady" as she has been dubbed, has suspended the licenses of 1,200 drug and medical equipment companies.

Wu Yi brokered the trade agreements with Russia and the US in the late 1990s, which smoothed China's entry into the World Trade Organisation in 2001.

17th September 2007

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