Toxic medicine

Po­lice ar­rest 8 sus­pects from firm with clen­buterol-laced prod­ucts

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHOU WENTING in Shang­hai zhouwent­ing@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

Po­lice bust a phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal firm that uses a harm­ful ad­di­tive in an­i­mal medicines.

China’s Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity China found the banned sub­stance clen­buterol in ve­teri­nary drugs, the min­istry said on its web­site on Sun­day.

Jiangxi Hail­ian, a pri­vate en­ter­prise in Haiyan county, Jiangxi prov­ince, that spe­cial­izes in the pro­duc­tion of ve­teri­nary drugs, sold clen­buterol-laced drugs in 21 prov­inces and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

Eight main sus­pects, in­clud­ing the com­pany man­ager, who was iden­ti­fied only by his sur­name of Xiong, were ar­rested, and po­lice seized more than 4,000 boxes with 20 kinds of coun­ter­feit drugs. Six kinds of the coun­ter­feit drugs con­tained clen­buterol.

The en­ter­prise added the sub­stance to the drugs to im­prove ef­fec­tive­ness and reap eco­nomic ben­e­fits, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

The com­pany, which claims on its web­site to sell ve­teri­nary drugs to farms all over the coun­try, was un­able to be reached on Sun­day for comment.

China for­bids the pro­duc­tion, sale and use of clen­buterol, which makes pigs leaner, be­cause residue of the chem­i­cal in live­stock will cause health prob­lems in hu­mans, such as dizzi­ness, headaches, hand tremors and pal­pi­ta­tions, food safety ex­perts said.

“Clen­buterol causes symp­toms within sev­eral hours, and the great­est risks are to peo­ple with heart trou­ble,” said Fan Zhi­hong, as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of nu­tri­tion and food safety at the China Agri­cul­tural Univer­sity, who said a small amount of the sub­stance would not be ob­vi­ous but would be danger­ous.

The case emerged when pigs from sev­eral farm­ers in Haiyan were found to con­tain the chem­i­cal in spot checks by the lo­cal agri­cul­tural econ­omy bureau in Fe­bru­ary.

The tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor of the com­pany, who the po­lice only iden­ti­fied by his sur­name, Zhou, told po­lice he found on the In­ter­net that clen­buterol re­lieves asthma in pigs.

“We ac­quired the li­cense num­ber to pro­duce ve­teri­nary drugs with qual­i­fied

Clen­buterol causes symp­toms within sev­eral hours, and the great­est risks are to peo­ple with heart trou­ble.

FAN ZHI­HONG AS­SO­CIATE PRO­FES­SOR OF NU­TRI­TION AND FOOD SAFETY AT THE CHINA AGRI­CUL­TURAL UNIVER­SITY

recipes and used it to pro­duce sub­stan­dard medicines,” Zhou said, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

The busi­ness got a cer­tifi­cate of Good Man­u­fac­tur­ing Prac­tices in 2005, which is re­quired by drug man­u­fac­tur­ers to pro­duce ve­teri­nary drugs, and repassed the test last year, ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion from the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture.

The com­pany used a ware­house be­hind a wall to hide the clen­buterol-laced drugs dur­ing in­spec­tions from au­thor­i­ties, Zou Yun­feng, a po­lice­man who dealt with the case, was quoted by the Bei­jing News as say­ing.

“The man­agers of the busi­ness closed the door on a wall be­hind which the il­le­gal drugs were stacked when­ever drug in­spec­tors ar­rived,” he said. “They would mis­tak­enly be­lieve the ware­house be­hind the wall was out­side the fac­tory and didn’t look into it.”

Po­lice have car­ried out cam­paigns against clen­buterol since it stirred wide­spread con­cern about pork safety when the Shuanghui Group, the coun­try’s largest meat pro­ces­sor, apol­o­gized in April 2011 for sell­ing pork prod­ucts that con­tained the ad­di­tive.

In June 2011, po­lice said 2.5 tons of clen­buterol had been seized in a na­tion­wide crack­down in the pre­vi­ous six months and nearly 1,000 peo­ple were ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of man­u­fac­tur­ing and sell­ing the haz­ardous chem­i­cal.

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