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China Launches Drug Safety Technology Campaign
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China launched a campaign on Thursday, to promote the use of technology to guarantee the safety of pharmaceuticals and patients. 

"The number of drug-related accidents has risen in recent years and the cases involving the Qiqihar No. 2 Pharmaceutical and the Xinfu drugs has attracted the attention and concern of the central government," said Shao Mingli, head of the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA). 

"It's time for us to take action to prevent such accidents," Shao said. 

The campaign, launched by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (SATCM) and the SFDA, will provide full technological support for every step of a drug's journey from laboratory to patient. 

"We will solve up to ten major technological problems concerning drug safety over the next five to ten years and set up three to five authorized and standard drug safety research and review centers," said Wang Hongguang, director of the China Biotech Development Center. 

Through the campaign, we also hope to improve innovation in drugs manufacturing and raise the competitiveness of Chinese medicine in the mainstream international market, Wang added. 

SFDA, China's national drug regulator, has revoked the license of the maker of the Xinfu drug, an antibiotic blamed for at least six deaths and dozens of illnesses. 

Patients who took the antibiotic developed severe adverse reactions, such as chest, kidney or stomach pains, vomiting and anaphylactic shock.

Earlier this year, 11 people were killed after injecting a drug made by the Qiqihar No. 2 Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang.

(Xinhua News Agency October 20, 2006)

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