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Stricter Medicine Laws Vowed
Drug watchdogs in Shanghai vowed yesterday to improve their management on drugs and pharmacies and build a better network for reporting adverse reactions to medication to protect the safety of local residents.

Shanghai is the first city in the nation to set up a system to monitor medical spot checks to ensure pharmacies and manufacturers aren't tipped off before inspections.

The local government spends nearly 25 million yuan (US$3.012 million) to regulate the industry, and results so far have been satisfactory, according to officials from the Shanghai Drug Administration Bureau.

Last year, the bureau inspected 14,980 drugs, among which 1,833 were found to be substandard. Seven of the 356 medical appliances inspected last year failed to meet government standards.

Watchdogs also inspected 9,847 drugs at various distribution centers last year, reporting that 4.8 percent of pharmacies and 7.12 percent of hospitals didn't store medicines properly or had other management problems.

Chinese herbs were found to have major problems, with 11.42 percent of herbs inspected showing problems, such as mold.

The drugs in village clinics still pose a potential threat to patients' health, as officials seized 836 counterfeit and standard medicines, many of which had long passed their best-before dates.

Last year, the Shanghai Drug Adverse Reaction Monitoring Center received 960 reports from various medical facilities about adverse reaction, three times as many reports as in 2001. Center officials said most of the adverse reactions occurred with people aged 40- 60 years old.

"In year 2003, the bureau will spend more time monitoring the drug market following the whole process from manufacturing to selling. Moreover, we will strengthen the registration system for new medicines and appliances to control the market," said Wang Longxing, director of the bureau.

(eastday.com January 17, 2003)

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