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Authority Reviews All Drug Licenses
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China's food and drug authority will thoroughly review all drug license numbers throughout the country next month, according to a notice posted on the State Food and Drug Administration's Website.

The nationwide examination will start on Friday and last 30 days, according to the notice.

It ordered pharmaceutical enterprises to hand in the license numbers they have acquired by the end of this month by filling electronic forms via downloaded application software from the administration's official Website, www.sfda.gov.cn. The local food and drug authorities must cooperate and organize the review, the notice said.

This review is in response to a previous misuse of the issuance of license numbers, the Guangzhou Daily said today.

Earlier media reports have spotlighted several medical malpractices due to faulty drugs in the past several months. An injectable antibiotic produced by an Anhui pharmacy company with poor sterilization procedures killed six around the country.

Some local drug authorities also withdrew dozens of drugs from their shelves as the drugs failed to pass inspections.

In 2004, the SFDA reviewed 10,009 drug applications, most of which are generic drugs. However, the US Food and Drug Administration only reviewed 148 applications during the same period, the newspaper said.

Each drug category in the government's system has a fixed price, which caused some pharmaceutical producers to apply for new license numbers so they could fit outside the government categories, and therefore, charge much higher prices, the newspaper said.

Several administration officials, who once abused their powers to issue license numbers, were fired or even sent to prison, the newspaper said.

Now it reviews applications more prudently and no longer issues license numbers as easily as before, the report said.

They also plan to revise the rule for drug registration in the near future on the basis of this nationwide review, the newspaper said.

(Shanghai Daily August 30, 2006)

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