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Official: OTC medicines mustn't contain banned drugs
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Chinese government has started a program of drug market inspection to keep the performance-enhancing substances away from the Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs list, said Chinese anti-doping official here on Wednesday. (photo: xinhua)

OTC drugs are medicines that may be sold without a prescription, in contrast to prescription drugs.

"Under the decision of the State Council, inspections of the drug-related markets had launched national wide." Zhao Jian, head of Anti-Doping Commission of the Chinese Olympic Committee told Xinhua.

According to Zhao, the State Food and Drug Administration, the local administrations, together with China's State General Administration of Sports, had inspected the pharmacies one by one in Wuhan, host of the Sixth Chinese City Games in Central China's Hubei Province, before the Game opens here on Thursday.

"Drug supervision is extremely important in the war against doping. We can hardly stop the athletes from doping without the strict control of the drug market," said Zhao. "The drugs used in doping are supposed not to be available without prescriptions, but now people can still buy them in markets, which means there are loopholes in our administration works."

The Chinese City Games, featuring most teenager athletes, is considered as a review of the stamina of the Chinese sports and thus has become a base of anti-doping instructions.

"We took Wuhan as the start point of the program," said Zhao.

A banner carrying "Strictly Carrying out Anti-Doping Code" was hanging on the front door of a downtown pharmacy called Laobaixing.

"The doping control requires a fully cooperation between different parts of the society and the government." He added.

Dick Pound, head of WADA, who once accused China of inadequate doping tests, said China had become a "vanguard" of anti-doping in the world.

He said he got to know that the Chinese central government held meetings with a dozen of government departments, including representatives from sports administration and food and drug administration, to discuss coordinated doping control.

A new and independent anti-doping organization, the Chinese Anti-Doping Center is about to be set up, with around 40 staff, in a bid to enhance strength and efficiency in cracking down on use of drugs by athletes.

(Xinhua News Agency October 25, 2007)

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