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October 3, 2010

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Suspects held in fake drug case

POLICE have detained some of the people suspected of participating in a fake drug case that caused 61 patients to get eye infections after receiving treatment at Shanghai No.1 People's Hospital last month, the city's information office said yesterday.

Officials suspended operations at Shanghai Ruijin-AmMed Cancer Center after it allegedly illegally purchased a fake version of the drug Avastin and then sold it to patients.

According to the Shanghai Information Office, several employees of the cancer center, along with some pharmaceutical dealers, were involved in the scandal. These people have been detained while the investigation continues.

The Shanghai Public Security Bureau refused to comment or reveal more details.

The cancer center was jointly established by Ruijin Hospital and Hong Kong AmMed International Co, which is affiliated to GenRx Holdings Ltd. It received its medical license in 2006. The cancer center's website has been inaccessible.

Ruijin Hospital said earlier that the cancer center operated independently. It added that drug purchases and patient treatment at the cancer center had no direct relationship with Ruijin Hospital.

The drug the patients had used was not Avastin, made by the global pharmaceutical giant Roche, though it was labeled as a Roche product and given a batch number of B6001B01, the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration said late last month.

This followed tests by the company and the city's drug accreditation institute.

Six of the 61 patients are still receiving treatment at Shanghai No.1 People's Hospital. The others have recovered and been discharged.

According to the National Business Daily, the hospital has paid compensation to most of the discharged patients. The minimum amount was 2,000 yuan (US$298.93).

The 61 patients were among 116 people who received the fake medicine on September 6 and 8. After the injections, they reported eye inflammation and poor vision and were hospitalized. Seventeen patients required surgery.


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