Blood plasma scandal latest stain on China’s medical products image

Blood plasma scandal latest stain on China’s medical products image

February 7, 2019

Beijing: China’s second biggest medical blood products company has been forced to issue an emergency recall for its blood plasma amid concern up to 12,000 units may be contaminated with HIV.

The latest medical scandal to hit China has seen the Shanghai Xinxing Pharmaceutical Company told to stop production after the discovery of HIV antibodies in its intravenous immunoglobin product.

The scandal is the latest to hit China’s medical products.Credit:AFR

The pooled blood plasma product is used to treat rabies, leukaemia and hepatitis.

The National Health Commission on Tuesday ordered hospitals to seal any products in the contaminated batch and monitor patients who had used it, as investigators were sent in.

The contamination was discovered by health officials in Jiangxi province.

China introduced screening of all blood products for HIV after a scandal in the 1990s saw poor villagers paid to illegally donate blood to create plasma products, and then re-injected with pooled blood, leading to a spike in HIV cases.

The health watchdog said on Wednesday that on-site testing at the company by drug safety inspectors found further samples in the batch had tested negative to HIV.

Patients in Jiangxi who had used the product had also tested negative to HIV.

But the incident will likely further erode consumer trust in Chinese medical products, and comes after a major scandal in 2018 involving faulty vaccines.

China’s corruption watchdog said on Saturday it had sacked or demoted 80 officials linked to last year’s Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology scandal, including the former deputy head of the China Food and Drug Administration, Wu Zhen, who had been handed to prosecutors.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said Wu had taken bribes and abused his power in drug regulation.

The vaccine maker fabricated records for its rabies vaccine and supplied faulty vaccines to children through the country’s national immunisation program.

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