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Local commerce regulators alerted over suspect pills

(Xinhua)

08:08, April 28, 2012

BEIJING, April 27 (Xinhua) -- China on Friday urged local commerce regulators to step up a crackdown on contaminated drug capsules and offer better guidance to medicine distributors in probes into the scandal.

Local commerce departments should actively cooperate with other government departments in the investigations, organize self-inspection among medicine merchandisers and see to it that substandard drugs are taken off the shelves, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.

China Central Television 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.

In the wake of the revelations, the government has launched an overhaul of drug capsule makers, pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers of gelatin for medical use.

Inspection teams were sent to Zhejiang, Hebei and Jiangxi provinces to supervise the investigation of the case.

The Ministry of Public Security said on Sunday it had arrested nine suspects, detained 54 and sealed 80 industrial gelatin and gel capsule manufacturing lines.

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