China faces shortage of life saving drugSeptember 13th, 2011 - 12:03 pm ICT by IANS
Beijing, Sep 13 (IANS) Experts in China have called for a national drug control system following a countrywide shortage of a life saving drug that has lasted at least three months.
According to doctors at a Beijing hospital, some specialised hospitals, which perform hundreds of cardiac operations every month, have been paralysed due to lack of protamine sulfate.
The drug — protamine sulfate — is commonly administered after heart surgery to reverse the anticoagulant effects of heparin, the China Daily reported.
The earliest news of a shortage was reported in Hubei province July 21. It was followed by reports of shortages in Guangdong, Shandong and Liaoning provinces.
The Shandong newspaper, Qilu Evening News, quoted a regional sales manager, surnamed Zhuang, as saying the province had been allocated 150 doses of protamine sulfate.
“But its monthly use here is usually 10,000 doses,” he said.
The ministry of health has denied any responsibility for the drug’s supplies and put it on the State Food and Drug Administration, claiming the latter was responsible for the medicines’ supervision.
Shen Chen, head of the publicity office of the State Food and Drug Administration, said the administration is responsible for the quality of medicines, not the supply.
According to some industry insiders, one of the reasons for the shortage was low profit margin, which discourages companies from mass producing the drug.
“Some companies can’t earn enough to recover their costs, therefore it is almost impossible to maintain their enthusiasm for continuing production,” said Lu Guoping, secretary-general of the Shanghai Pharmaceutical Trade Association.
Lu suggested the government to issue policies for prevent future shortages of such medicines to avoid possible nationwide public health incidents.
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Tags: beijing hospital, cardiac operations, china daily, food and drug administration, guangdong, heart surgery, heparin, hubei province, industry insiders, least three months, liaoning, ministry of health, pharmaceutical trade, profit margin, protamine sulfate, publicity office, regional sales manager, shandong, state food, zhuang