Police seize 44 tons of drug material

09:44, December 03, 2009      

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The nation's drug watchdog Wednesday urged a restriction on the circulation of compound preparations containing ephedrine – a drug often used for curing the flu – as it could also be used to produce narcotics.

Mao Zhenbin, of the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), made the call in Yibin, southwest Sichuan Province, where local anti-drug authorities said they confiscated a record 44 tons of the substance.

This amount could be processed into 10 tons of methamphetamine, or crystal meth, worth 2.17 billion yuan ($318 million), according to China News Service.

Preventing the use of medical drugs containing ephedrine for illegal-drug production is a major part of China's anti-drug obligations, Mao said.

"Drug administrations at various levels should improve their monitoring and make sure that production of compound preparations containing ephedrine is done according to regulations, putting the materials in controllable circulation," Mao added.

In a statement to the Global Times, the National Narcotics Control Commission (CNNCC) and the SFDA said Yibin police also busted five drug-making gangs, arrested 85 suspects and dismantled eight illegal drug-processing laboratories.

Police confiscated 415 kilograms of ephedrine, 955 grams of methamphetamine and 18.20 million yuan in cash, the government agencies said.

A police spokesman was quoted by the Xinhua News Agency as saying that the arrests were made in early October.

Compound preparations containing ephedrine are not listed as precursor chemicals in the country, but the SDFA has now put a cap on their usage.

According to a directive last year by the SFDA, drugstores set limits on purchasing medicines for flu, cough and asthma treatments that contain ephedrine from late last year.

Each person is only eligible to purchase no more than five of the smallest retail packages of the related medicines.

Source:Global Times

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