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Chinese county closes 82 drug capsule workshops after contamination scandal

(Xinhua)

11:13, April 27, 2012

SHIJIAZHUANG, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Authorities in Fucheng county, located in north China's Hebei province, have shut down 82 unlicensed drug capsule workshops since a contamination scandal involving the industry was exposed earlier this month.

Seven other licensed businesses in the county have been ordered to temporarily suspend production, and all raw materials for making drug capsules and their finished products have been sealed off, a county government spokesman said Thursday.

Meanwhile, 10 people from the unlicensed workshops implicated in the scandal have been detained by police, he said.

Local authorities have also decided to build an industrial park for drug capsule businesses. The businesses will be under strict quality supervision in the park to ensure the healthy development of the industry, he said.

No other such businesses will be approved to operate outside of the industrial park, he added.

China Central Television (CCTV) reported on April 15 that 13 commonly prescribed drugs had been packed into capsules made with industrial gelatin which contains a much greater amount of chromium than edible gelatin.

Chromium can be toxic and carcinogenic if ingested in large amounts.

The illegal manufacturing lines were mainly found in Hebei, Zhejiang and Jiangxi provinces.

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