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Drug Meant to Heal Turns ‘heel’ and Hars

In a case of a therapeutic drug turning deadly, hundred of persons have been infected with Hepatitis C.//

Chinese officials from the ministry of heath have ordered the recall of samples of the blood-based drug used in the treatment of immune system deficiencies.

The drug manufactured by Guangdong Bioyee Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., is extracted from human blood and injected intravenously during treatment.

China's Health Ministry and drug watchdog, the State Food and Drug Administration, said that the Guangdong Bioyee Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. had committed "illegal behavior" in the production of its immunoglobulin drug and that users had tested positive to "Hepatitis C antibodies".

Officials have recalled around 90,000 doses of the drug and ordered the cessation of its production and sale.

Hepatitis C can lead to chronic liver infection and cirrhosis. About 1 percent to 5 percent of people with the disease eventually die from long-term infection, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Health News, a newspaper run by China's Health Ministry, quoted experts as saying that the plasma used to make the immunoglobulin drug might have contained either the hepatitis C virus or its antibodies.

It would take two to eight weeks to rule out the chance of hepatitis C infections for the users, the newspaper said.

The reports did not say how many users the drug had affected or how many samples of the drug were problematic.

Doctor Jia Jidong, from Beijing Friendship Hospital, says not everyone with hepatitis C antibodies in their blood have will fall ill with the diseases.

He estimates that about 50 to 85 percent of those tested positive for antibodies will end up contracting the disease and it can take up to eight weeks before symptoms appear.

Fake or tainted drugs have killed dozens in China in recent years and sparked public fury about drug safety.

The Chinese media puts the blame on businesses chasing profits and on complacent official supervision.


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