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Chinese drugmaker accused of using cooking oil in antibiotic production

03-Sep-2012
Last updated on 03-Sep-2012 at 16:10 GMT

Chinese manufacturer Joincare Pharmaceutical Group has been accused of using reprocessed cooking oil in the manufacture of an antibiotic intermediate.

According to a report on the China.org.cn website  the central government of China’s Jiaozuo city alleged the firm bought reprocessed oil – known as gutter oil – and used it to make the intermediate 7-aminocephalosporanic acid (7 ACA), of which it is one of the biggest suppliers in China.

A different report on the CRIEnglish.com  site suggests that between 2010 and 2011 Joincare’s subsidiary Jiaozuo Joincare Biological bought 16,200 tons of gutter oil from Huikang Grease.

A third article on the Taiwanese WantChinaTimes.com  site suggests that Huikang, which was originally sold the oil by Gelin Biology Company, mixed it with soybean oil before selling it to Joincare.

The Shenzen-based pharmaceutical company issued a response statement on its website  (simplified Chinese), detailing the oil batches it purchased over the period in question and stressing that it is willing to work with the Chinese Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) to address the issue.

The news follows just a few weeks after Joincare announced plans to invest RMB1bn ($157m) to expand production operations at a facility in Fuping New Area, Shenzhen. The project will focus on the manufacture of carbapenem antibiotics.

Quality clampdown

It also comes amid SFDA efforts to improve pharmaceuticals, ingredients and excipients  produced in China, by placing more of the burden of ensuring product quality on manufacturers .

The clampdown was prompted by the discovery that chromium-tainted gelatin derived from the leather industry rather than pharmaceutical grade gelatin had been used to produce gel capsules .

That case also led the SFDA to announce that it will 'name and shame' manufacturers that do not comply with quality regulations on its website to try and prevent further problems.