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76 officials punished in medicine capsule scandal


13:51, August 04, 2012

BEIJING - A total of 76 local officials have been punished for failing to prevent and stop the production of contaminated drug capsules, the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) said Friday.

The officials were employed at drug supervision agencies in five provinces and the municipality of Chongqing, the SFDA said in a statement.

The officials' punishments were not detailed.

In April, a China Central Television report stated that several companies had manufactured drug capsules with industrial gelatin, which contains excessive levels of chromium and is illegal to use for making drug capsules. The industrial gelatin was found to be made from leather scraps.

After the scandal broke, the SFDA launched a nationwide inspection on all medications produced and sold as of April 30.

The SFDA announced in May that 254 pharmaceutical enterprises, or 12.7 percent of all capsule makers in the country, were found to be producing unsafe drug capsules after a month-long inspection, with 5.8 percent of tested drugs found to contain excessive levels of chromium.

The SFDA statement said no capsule medications sold since May 1 have been found to contain excess chromium.

The SFDA will continue to crack down on illegal production and welcomes public tips, the statement said.

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