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Five jailed over lethal fake medicine scandal
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Five people involved in a lethal fake medicine scandal that killed 13 patients in 2006 were jailed for between four and seven years, a court said on Tuesday.

The five people, all from the Qiqihar No. 2 Pharmaceutical Co. of Heilongjiang Province, were responsible for allowing diglycol, a lethal chemical that can cause kidney failure, to be used in the production of Armillarisin A, a medicine to treat liver and gallbladder diseases, a Guangzhou Municipal Intermediate People's Court ruling said.

The five are: Yin Jiade, the company's general manager; Zhu Chuanhua and Guo Xingping, two deputy managers; Chen Guifen, director of the company's laboratory test department; Niu Zhongren, a medicine procurator.

They were jailed for the crime of major responsibility in a fatal accident.

Niu bought a tonne of diglycol in September 2005 from Wang Guiping, a drug dealer in the eastern Jiangsu Province, to manufacture the Armillarisin A drops.

In April, 2006, the drops were administered in the form of injections to 15 patients in a hospital in Guangzhou. Thirteen died after suffering kidney failure and the drops also exacerbated symptoms of two other patients.

The court said Wang, the dealer who forged production documents and sold the deadly chemical to Niu, had been arrested by the police in Jiangsu Province and was on trial there.

The company has been shut down following the fake medicine incident. Xun Fubo, deputy director of the Food and Drug Administration of Qiqihar, has been sacked for negligence. Eleven other officials in the city and province were punished.

(Xinhua News Agency April 30, 2008)

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