China's drug safety watchdog wants to make sure a deadly herbal injection has been pulled off store shelves.
On Thursday the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) ordered local branches to once again check all companies and institutions that sold or used ciwujia.
"The inspection should focus on rural areas," the administration said.
The SFDA is attempting to trace the whereabouts medicine that was recalled Monday. It also wants to gather better data on any adverse reactions caused by the product.
Testing done on ciwujia samples, which was produced by Wandashan Pharmaceutical Company, in northeastern Heilongjiang Province, showed the product was tainted with bacteria, said the Ministry of Health and the SFDA on Tuesday.
An investigation is underway to determine how contamination happened.
October 11, 4,547 bottles of the herbal injection had been either recalled or confiscated, SFDA figures showed. No updated figure has been released since then.
The contaminated medicine was sold to 53 drug stores and 92 hospitals in 16 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, according to the SFDA.
In total, 43,383 injections had been used.
Six patients in the southwestern Yunnan Province experienced adverse reactions after receiving a ciwujia injection. Their symptoms included vomiting and becoming comatose. Three of those patients died October 6. The other three remain in observation.
The medicine is extracted from ciwujia, a type of Siberian ginseng. Injections are often used to treat thrombosis caused by a weak liver and kidneys. It is also believed to be helpful in treating coronary heart disease, nervous exhaustion and menopausal problems.
(Xinhua News Agency October 17, 2008)