More medicine now meets national quality standards thanks to tightened controls and more inspections, the State Drug Administration (SDA) said Friday.
Statistics from the SDA show 5.4 percent of medicines inspected last year failed to meet required standards, a drop of 1.6 percentage points compared with the previous year.
A total of 102,000 batches of medicines were examined last year, from which 3.4 percent of antibiotics were found to be below standard. The figure for traditional Chinese herbal medicine was 20.2 percent, the highest of all categories.
The statistics also show 2.2 per cent of drug producers, 6.5 percent of drugstores and 7.1 per cent of hospitals failed inspections.
Punishment has been imposed on 134 producers, 66 drugstores and 76 hospitals for producing or dealing with sub-standard medicine. Further investigation and stricter monitoring is expected this year.
Some medicines that failed inspections have had their production licences revoked.
The administration launched a national crackdown on fake and sub-standard medicine and health care products last November.
More than 1,000 illegal production cases have so far been uncovered with a value of more than 85 million yuan (US$10 million). 40 underground plants have been discovered and 46 suspects arrested in 18 provinces since October.
In Henan Province last year a total of 6.46 million yuan (US$778,000) worth of fake or sub-standard medicine was confiscated and five underground medicine markets were closed down.
As Spring Festival -- the most important festival in China -- approaches, the administration is calling on all its branches to be particularly vigilant.
China is attaching increasing importance to the medicine industry.
Last month the SDA banned all flu medicine made with the substance PPA, which experts believe could cause brain cancer.
The government is considering amending the existing State Pharmaceutical Law to combat sub-standard or fake drug production and marketing.
Chinese people also appear to be becoming increasingly aware of the issue.
(China Daily 01/13/2001)