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4 detained for roles in packaging fatal drugs

POLICE in east China's Shandong Province seized four people accused of providing packaging services for a fake diabetes drug that killed two patients and hospitalized nine, officers said yesterday.

The drug, sold under the brand Tang Zhi Ning Jiao Nang, was found to contain six times the normal dose of glibenclamide, a chemical used to help lower blood sugar. Taking a dose of that amount is potentially fatal, authorities said. Two patients in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region died after taking the drug in January.

The suspects were all senior executives of Tai'an Zhongxin Lingzhi Technology and Development Co, based in Tai'an City, said a local public security bureau spokesman.

They were identified as Wang Junqing, 57, board chairman, and his daughter Wang Liping, 32, who is in charge of the company's financial management. Also detained was Zhang Anjie, 33, Wang Liping's husband and the general manager, and Ma Yuanjie, 37, the production manager.

The spokesman said the company had packaged 40,000 bottles of the drug since September and was paid 38,000 yuan (US$5,500) by Fu Qichang, the chief suspect in the case. He was seized by Shandong police on February 8.

"Fu delivered the drugs to the company for the packaging and sent them elsewhere," the spokesman said.


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