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China Stops Sales of Suspected Herbal Injection

China's drug safety watchdog put as top to sales and use of an herbal injection after the product was suspected of causing three deaths earlier this week.

A total of 4,547 bottles of ciwujia herbal injection, manufactured by the Wandashan Pharmaceutical Company in northeastern Heilongjiang Province, have been recalled, the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) said on Saturday.

Two batches of ciwujia, produced in December 2007, were found to be substandard. The SFDA said a total of 47,930 bottles had been sold to 53 drug stores and 92 hospitals throughout half of China.

In total, 43,383 injections of ciwujia had already been used, said the SFDA.

Six patients in southwestern Yunnan Province became violently ill, suffering from vomiting and even comas, after being injected with ciwujia from the two batches.

Three of those patients died in the hospital on Monday. The others were described as stable, but still under observation.

The SFDA is testing other batches of ciwujia injections produced by Wandashan .

The medicine is extracted from ciwujia, a type of Siberian ginseng. Siberian ginseng injections are often used to treat thrombosis caused by weak liver and kidneys. It is also believed to be helpful in treating coronary heart disease, nervous exhaustion and menopausal problems.

Wandashan Pharmaceutical has more than 570 staff and has manufactured ciwujia for more than 30 years.

(Xinhua News Agency October 12, 2008)

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