August 8, 2006

China probes 4 deaths for link to drug treatment

BEIJING (Reuters) - China is investigating four deaths for
links to a banned antibiotic treatment, state media reported on
Tuesday, adding that more than 80 patients in 10 provinces had
complained of severe adverse reactions to the drug.

Beijing last week banned the use of the Clindamycin
Phosphate Glucose Injection, produced by a company in the
eastern province of Anhui for treatment of bacterial

Four fatalities possibly linked to the drug include a
6-year-old girl in northeastern province of Heilongjiang who
died after using the drug, and a 63-year-old woman from
northwestern province of Shaanxi who suffered a severe adverse
reaction while receiving the injection and died two days later,
the official China Daily reported.

An increasing number of patients nationwide, mostly from
rural areas, have complained about the symptoms ranging from
chest and stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea to anaphylactic shock,
after being injected with the drug, the newspaper said.

The use of fake and poor-quality products has killed dozens
of people in China in recent years and has sparked widespread
public fury about food and drug safety. Chinese media have
blamed the frequent scandals on businesses obsessed with making
profits and on lax official supervision.

The drug watchdog, State Food and Drug Administration, has
sent an investigative team to search for links between the
injections and the deaths, according to the newspaper.

More than 10 patients who had adverse reactions to the drug
are receiving medical treatment, the paper reported.

Months earlier, local media exposed a bogus drug scandal
that had killed 11 people in the southern province of Guangdong
after they received injections of fake Armillarisni-A made by a
Heilongjiang company, whose executives were detained and its
license withdrawn.