China has tightened the quality control on anti-malaria drugs
sold to African countries with a newly-issued regulation and other
efforts, said the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) in
Beijing on Monday.
According to the new regulation, China will only export
anti-malaria drugs produced through a group of government-appointed
pharmacy companies to African clients and carefully examine their
products before export, said Wu Zhen, the SFDA deputy Director, at
a press conference.
"We promise to sell safe and effective anti-malaria tablets to
Africa," Wu said, adding that they did receive reports of
sub-standard Chinese drugs sold in Africa.
Chinese researchers extracted a fast-acting, anti-malaria agent
named artemisinin from a traditional Chinese herb in the 1970s. The
tablets based on this subject are taking the majority of drug
exports from China to Africa where about 3 million people die of
malaria every year.
China's pharmacy industry, with an annual output value of 500
billion yuan (66.67 billion U.S. dollars), is under criticism for
The problems turn up as the export volume increases. Also, part
of the problem is that quality management in China and foreign
countries is done differently, Wu said.
"Condemnation and complaint won't help to close loopholes in
quality control of medicines. The most effective way is cooperation
between China and export markets," he said.
He suggested that the two sides share information and technology
improvements and, even better, develop a mechanism to jointly cope
with the issue.
By October, China closed 300 drug and medical device
manufacturers in a national campaign to regulate its pharmacy
industry, which started last July.
(Xinhua News Agency December 4, 2007)