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May 20, 2011

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

11 admit fake drug scandal roles

ELEVEN people admitted in court yesterday to their parts in the production and selling of a fake drug that caused eye infections in 61 patients in Shanghai.

What was said to be Avastin, a cancer drug believed to have a beneficial effect on macular degeneration, an eye condition that can lead to loss of sight, was actually just saline, the Luwan District People's Court heard.

Ninety bottles of the fake Avastin were produced and were eventually sold to the Shanghai Ruijin-AmMed Cancer Center, a joint venture between Ruijin Hospital and Hong Kong AmMed International Co, prosecutors said.

Five of the 90 bottles were then sold to patients with eye problems for injection at the Shanghai No. 1 People's Hospital.

A drug test report by the Shanghai Institute for Food and Drug Control found that the fake Avastin contained excessive bacteria endotoxin.

Medical experts told the court that the endotoxin in the fake drug was closely related to the eye infection that the patients suffered.

The 61 patients were among 116 people who received the fake medicine on September 6 and 8 last year. After the injections, they reported eye inflammation and were admitted to hospital.

Wu Guosong, a fake drug producer from Heilongjiang Province, told the court that Li Xiaoqin, an unlicensed drug seller in Shanghai, asked to buy Avastin from him in the middle of last year.

He then asked for fake Avastin packaging from Zhao Hongchen.

Zhao, together with Wang Hao and Xie Shangkun, asked a print factory to print 200 sets of Avastin packaging in May 2010 and sold 90 sets to Wu for 27,000 yuan (US$4,154).

Wu instructed his wife Wang Shuang and others to fill the bottles in residential communities in Beijing.

They then produced 90 bottles of fake Avastin with the fake packaging and sold them to Li at 1,300 yuan each.

"It's a simple process," Wu said at the hearing. "Every time when Li asked for the drug, I would transport the drugs to Shanghai by air."

The fake Avastin was resold to others and then to the cancer center at between 3,400 yuan and 4,650 yuan a bottle.

No verdicts were announced.


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