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|Monday, November 05, 2001, updated at 21:40(GMT+8)|
Chemically Synthesized Ephedrine Put Into Mass Production in ChinaChina has become the third country in the world behind Germany and India to be able to mass produce chemically synthesized ephedrine.
Large-scale production of the drug, long used to fight respiratory disease, will be launched in Chifeng Pharmaceutical Factory of north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Annual output of ephedrine is projected at 100 tons.
Ephedrine is the catch-all name used for ephedrine hydrochloride, pseudoephedrine hydrochloride and methylephedrine hydrochloride.
Chinese traditionally extracted the drug from ephedrine grass, using it to stop coughing, relieve asthma and cure other cold-related symptoms.
Experts said that the production cost of ephedrine chemically synthesized was 60 percent lower than that extracted from grass, and its quality is higher.
Developed in 1997 by the pharmaceutical factory, the production technique was test-run and passed expert appraisal early this year.
Once the technology is widely put to use, experts believed that market demand both at home and abroad for ephedrine could be guaranteed.
In addition, China's grasslands would face a less risk of desertification as the practice of gathering ephedrine grass would be significantly curbed.
Currently, China is the only country in the world to be able to provide natural ephedrine because it is a major producing area of ephedrine grass.
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