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rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Nov 30 00:28:24 CST 2007
Penalty guidelines set for fake drugs
A draft judicial interpretation spells out the circumstances in which life
sentences or the death penalty can be meted out to producers or sellers of
fake drugs who cause "very serious damage" to public health.
If fake drugs cause serious deformities or bodily harm to more than three
people, or slight injury to more than 10 people, producers or sellers may
have to be subject to such penalties, according to a draft rule made
public by the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) on Wednesday for
The move comes amid intensified efforts to strengthen drug safety.
The Criminal Law stipulates that producers and sellers of fake drugs could
face life imprisonment or capital punishment if their drugs cause "very
serious damage" to public health or death, but it fails to define what the
"very serious" damage is, posing difficulties for courts handling such
The draft, jointly written by the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme
People's Procuratorate, also stipulates that those who produce and sell
substandard drugs that cause death, deformities or injuries may face life
It says if such cases happen during natural disasters or public health
emergencies, violators will receive relatively heavier sentences within
the scope of the law.
Hospitals that purchase, store or use drugs they know to be fake or
substandard will face criminal charges as well, according to the draft.
If passed, the interpretation will be the country's first detailed
guidelines on how to handle criminal cases of producing or selling fake
drugs, but there is no timetable for its adoption, according to the
administration's policy and legislation department.
SFDA officials reached Thursday did not want to comment on the draft
interpretation, saying there may be changes before it is adopted.
The government has come under great pressure to overhaul the food and drug
safety system after a series of controversies caused by shoddy products
and corruption scandals involving high-ranking SFDA officials.
Zheng Xiaoyu, former SFDA director, was executed in July for corruption
and dereliction of duty.
One of the most notorious cases of bogus drugs was that of Qiqihar No 2
Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, a privately-owned business in Heilongjiang
Province, whose fake Armillarisin A injections killed 13 people.
(source: China Daily)
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