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Herbal Injections Recalled After 3 Deaths

Two batches of ciwujia herbal injections produced by a northwest China firm have been recalled following the deaths of three people given the treatments, local authorities said on Thursday.

Batch numbers 2007121511 and 2007122721 of "Ciwujia Injection" were produced by the Heilongjiang-based Wandashan Pharmaceutical in December last year. The medicine was extracted from ciwujia, a type of Siberian ginseng.

"We started on Tuesday morning to recall the products that had been sold by the company but not used by hospitals. All the medicine is on the way back," said Guo Laibin, a Heilongjiang Land Reclamation Region official in charge of economic development, at a press conference.

But he declined to give the exact figure of the recalled medicine or how many doses were produced for each batch.

Six patients in southwest China's Yunnan Province had strong adverse reactions after being injected with Ciwujia from the two batches. Three died in hospital on Monday.

The food and drug administrations of the state, provincial and city levels arrived at the Wandashan Pharmaceutical to investigate the medicine on Tuesday night, but had made no conclusions, Guo said.

"The heads of the company are cooperating with the investigation," he said.

The provincial food and drug watchdogs of Yunnan and Heilongjiang have ordered the suspension of sales and usage of the medicine.

All hospitals are ordered to closely monitor patients for possible adverse reactions, said Li Bin, head of the Heilongjiang health bureau.

To date, the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) had received no such reports from outside Yunnan.

Wandashan Pharmaceutical has more than 570 staff and has been producing ciwujia for over 30 years.

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 9, 2008)

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