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US$1.2 Bln Earmarked to Better Food, Drug Management
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China will invest 8.8 billion yuan (around US$1.2 billion) to improve food and drug supervision, China's food and drug watchdog announced on Wednesday.


"Regarding the investment, 6.3 billion will come from the central government and the rest from the local government," said Yan Jiangying, spokeswoman for the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) at a regular press conference on Wednesday.


"China's food and drug supervision work began late and its foundations are weak," she said.


"Currently, China's food and drug supervision infrastructure system lags behind expectations, especially in western regions," Yan said.


"With this investment we expect that the infrastructure and technology inside the food and drug administration will be up to par within three to five years," said Yan. 


Yan listed several investment projects, including the renovation of 16 testing centers of imported drugs. The National Center for Medical Devices Testing will also undergo renovation and the National Institute for the Control of Pharmaceutical and Biological Products will relocate.


Yan said that the SFDA has designated 16 local drug inspection offices to test imported drugs, but 16 offices are still incapable of testing biological products.


According to Yan, the investment will also be used to improve the facilities of the local food and drug supervision bureaus in the western and central parts of China.


Yan also announced on Wednesday that the SFDA would hold regular press conferences every two weeks to brief the media on China's food security situation. She admitted that China's food and drug situation was unsatisfactory and vowed to improve it during China's first regular press conference held by China's food and drug watchdog on July 11.
The Chinese government has been under great pressure to revamp the country's food and drug safety system following a series of incidents attributed to substandard food and drug products. Several bribery sandals involving high-ranking officials from the country's food and drug watchdog were also reported.


(Xinhua News Agency August 9, 2007)

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