More than half the country's drug factories will have to upgrade
their facilities or face shutdown with the first pollution control
standards for the pharmaceutical industry set to be unveiled by the
end of the year.
It took three years to draft the industry's discharge standards,
said Xing Shubin, an expert at the State Environmental Protection
Engineering Center for Pharmacy Waste Water Control.
The standards are expected to undergo a nationwide review by
enterprises, experts and the authorities this month, Xing, who was
in charge of drafting the standards, told China Daily.
He added that they are likely to be approved by the
The thresholds set by the new standards will be "much higher"
than the existing practices, the official said.
The current standards for industrial wastewater and emissions
were made in the 1990s, with no specific rules or requirements for
Due to fierce competition, and to minimize costs, drug companies
tend not to prioritize waste control and environmental protection,
said Zhang Buyong, an expert with Guangzhou-based South Medicine
Economic Research Institution.
Of the list of 6,066 heavily polluting companies published in
March by the State Environmental Protection Administration, 117
were pharmaceutical firms, according to a China Business News
Kevin May, toxics campaign manager at Greenpeace China, pointed
out that pollution from the pharmaceutical industry is persistent
and cumulative; and his organization urges companies to increase
spending on waste control.
Last week, Huaxing Medicines Factory - based in Henan Province
in Central China and the largest penicillin producer in the country
- was reportedly ordered to suspend operation because of pollution
Hong Kong-invested United Laboratories International Holdings
Ltd also faces punishment and was ordered to reduce emission from
its antibiotics raw material factory in Pengzhou of Sichuan
(China Daily September 5, 2007)