The Chinese government has arrested almost 2,000 people and confiscated about $180 million worth of counterfeit drugs, Reuters reports:
The operation, involving around 18,000 police officers, discovered fake or adulterated drugs purporting to deal with illnesses ranging from diabetes to high blood pressure and rabies, the ministry said in a statement on its website (www.mps.gov.cn).
The suspects went so far as to advertise their drugs online, in newspapers and on television, and the drugs caused problems ranging from liver and kidney damage to heart failure, it added.
“The criminals’ methods were despicable and have caused people to boil with rage,” the ministry said.
The government has repeatedly promised to tighten regulatory systems after safety scandals involving fish, drugs, toys, toothpaste, children’s clothes, tires, drugs and milk fortified with melamine, used in the manufacture of tabletops.
Counterfeit or substandard pharmaceuticals produced in China have caused problems in other countries as well, including malaria medications sent to Africa and erectile dysfunction medications distributed in the U.S. and Europe. Read about another crackdown on an illegal drug network in China, from 2011, via CDT.