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November 26, 2010

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City court jails 4 for fake medicine racket

FOUR members of a group that sold expired medicine and produced fake prescription drugs without a license were given jail sentences ranging from 11 months to five and a half years yesterday.

The drugs produced by the gang were tested and found to be fake. Fortunately, none of them were sold thanks to quick action by the police.

The Putuo District People's Court heard that the gang collected expired medicine around the city at low prices and then sold them outside Shanghai, after changing the production and expiry dates on the labels.

Zhang Dezhi, 45, from Liaoning Province, and Zhang Wenzhong, 48, from Anhui Province, who do not have licenses to sell or produce drugs, began to collect medicines around the city last year, the court heard.

"Some were close to their expiry dates and some had just expired. The prices (they paid for them) were quite low," said Zhang Wenzhong, answering questions in court.

"I thought the medicine could still be effective," Zhang said.

Zhang Dezhi took the medicine back to his hometown in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, and his wife, Wang Fengjuan, was in charge of selling the them there. Zhang Wenzhong sold the drugs to out-of-town private clinics.

Police seized more than 3,100 boxes of medicine in Zhang Dezhi's home in Shanghai on February 3 and intercepted more than 20,000 boxes on their way to Shen-yang. They were estimated to be worth around 550,000 yuan (US$82,614).

Police later confiscated medicine valued at 230,000 yuan from Wang's home in Shenyang, and drugs in Zhang Wenzhong's residence in Shanghai valued at more than 400,000 yuan.

In addition to collecting and selling the drugs, Zhang Dezhi also produced fake drugs by buying in cheap and inferior medicines and attaching false labels of more expensive brands.

In December 2009, he first asked Zhang Wenzhong provided empty capsules and Xu Chao, a manager at a Xi'an bio-tech company, filled the 50,000 capsules with bogus medicinal powder.

Police stopped production before it could be completed after they seized the drugs from Zhang Dezhi's home.


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