China's Health Ministry announced Wednesday that China cracked down 106 cases of illegal blood collection and supply and gave 15 people criminal penalties during its nationwide campaign from May 2004 to March 2005.
Vice minister Ma Xiaowei said on a television meeting that the 106 cases included 11 criminal cases and 71 cases of illegal blood collection and supply by legal agencies, medical organizations and blood products producers.
In the 11 criminal cases, 33 people were arrested and 15 have been jailed. In addition, 102 officials and managers of blood collection agencies, medical organizations and health departments have received administrative discipline, he said.
According to the incomplete ministry figures, since the nationwide campaign on eliminating illegal blood collection was launched last May, health departments have examined more than 900 blood collection and supply agencies and 36 blood products producers.
By the end of last month, 147 blood collection agencies had been closed and 86 medical organizations and blood collection and supply organizations had been punished.
In the mid-1990s, illegal blood collection caused the spread of AIDS among rural residents in some localities of central China. Since 1995, China has promulgated a series of laws and regulations to secure blood safety and HIV testing has been adopted at blood stations across the nation.
Meanwhile, the country also invest heavily in setting up blood collection and supply agencies. In 2001 alone, 2.25 billion yuan ( 274 million US dollars) was spent in building and renovating 459 agencies in central and western regions.
A case of illegal blood collection and supply was in litigation between 1999 and 2003 in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. A local hospital supplied blood to patients and 13 people were infected with HIV and one died of AIDS after using the blood, which the hospital collected by itself without qualification.
Two officials in charge of the local health work during that period were prosecuted in December last year and were sentenced three years each in prison for malpractice in January.