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No antivenin shortage: national authorities

By Bai Tiantian (Global Times)

16:10, August 30, 2012

China's State Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that the national supply of antivenin, used to counter snake-bite, is sufficient to meet medical demands, following a series of news reports saying that snakebite victims were unable to obtain the antidote.

Despite the official announcement, major hospitals and centers for disease control in Guangdong Province contacted by the Global Times Wednesday stated they still face a shortage of supply.

The five hospitals and two centers with no stock of antivenin include the Guangdong People's Hospital, Guangzhou First People's Hospital, and the centers for disease control and prevention for both Guangdong Province and Guangzhou.

An anonymous pharmacist at the First Hospital of Guangzhou Medical School told the Global Times that the hospital has had a constant shortage of antivenin over the past few years.

Huang Yue, a sales manager from the Shanghai Serum Biological Technology Company, told the Global Times, "We are the only antivenin producer on the Chinese mainland because very few companies want to get in the business. The profit is just too low."

"We were out of operation for six months after moving our manufacturing site, before resuming production on May 17 after we acquired proper documents from the government," Huang added.

"The company has set up an online order system and hotline to help with urgent demand," said Huang.

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