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June 3, 2010

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Man held for peddling drug with fake human blood protein

A MAN has been detained for carrying and attempting to trade counterfeit blood protein, authorities said this morning.

The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration said the 200 bottles labeled human serum albumin, or plasma protein, found in the suspect's luggage did not contain actual proteins. The fakes, if taken, could have impaired a patient's treatment.

Albumin is usually used for patients with cancer, burns or those receiving a surgery to strengthen their immunity.

"Such fake albumin can do nothing to gear up patient's health if used," said Du Bing, an official at Shanghai FDA.

Officials said local authorities have regularly detected fake albumin in recent years and this case was not the biggest, although they gave no details of other cases.

They said many criminals were taking advantage of a huge demand for albumin and its short supply through official channels.

"The state FDA has carried out a two-year campaign against counterfeit blood products in the nation since last year," Du said.

The suspect surnamed Li was caught on May 13 at the Shanghai Long-Distance Bus Station in Zhabei District on his way home with the drug, police said yesterday. The station's security staff found the fake drug in Li's four pieces of luggage and called the Shanghai FDA.

Li said his batch of bogus albumin was purchased outside of the city and he brought the drug to the city for a client who then canceled the deal. Li had to carry the drug back to his home town, Taixing in Jiangsu Province.

A week later, on May 21, the Shanghai Institute for Food and Drug Control reported that Li's drug contained no protein. The manufacturer named on the bottles, a local blood product company, denied producing this batch of albumin and believed it to be fake, officials said.


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