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Crackdown on medicines licensed as disinfectant

A SIX-MONTH crackdown on products being marketed as medicine while licensed as disinfectant is to begin in the city next month, the Shanghai Health Supervision Agency said yesterday.

The local effort is part of a nationwide campaign which follows problems caused by a hormone-tainted baby-skin cream, which caused adverse reactions in some children last year. The manufacturer in Guizhou Province lost its health permit for illegally changing the cream's formula.

The Miaoling cream was licensed as a disinfectant but was used by many parents to treat their babies' eczema.

"The authorities have been strict in issuing medicine licenses in recent years and many manufacturers have found a loophole by applying for a disinfectant license for medicine," said Mao Jie, an agency official.

"The Miaoling cream shouldn't have had any hormone component if it was an disinfectant."

Miaoling was not an isolated case. Officials said they were investigating similar products sold in local markets.

"Some manufacturers mislead customers by promoting products' medical function and listing diseases that can be treated," Mao said. "Disinfectant is not medicine and can't treat diseases. Their explanation can't indicate or imply treating effects."

The maximum punishment at present is usually a fine of 5,000 yuan (US$731) but officials said manufacturers caught in the crackdown would face higher fines and possible confiscation of equipment and products.


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