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China warns local officials to be on the ball with killer antibiotic
BEIJING, Aug 9 (AFP) Aug 09, 2006
China's health ministry warned local officials Wednesday they risked punishment if slack performance were to cause more problems involving a flawed antibiotic that may have cost at least six lives.

All local health departments are to report to their superiors if they detect people showing adverse reactions caused by use of the now-banned Xinfu drug, the ministry said in a notice on its website.

"Officials will be held accountable if slack supervision and control work leads to more adverse reaction cases," the notice warned.

It is now believed that at least six people have died after using the product, also know as clindamycin phosphate glucose, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The State Food and Drug Administration banned the drug and started a nationwide recall early this month.

The drug, used to treat bacterial infections, is produced by Anhui Huayuan Worldbest Biology Pharmacy Co. in east China's Anhui province, according to state media.

Symptoms among patients sickened by the drug include kidney pains, stomach aches, nausea, vomiting and chest pains, Xinhua said previously.

Honest and speedy reporting from officials is one of the main challenges facing the Chinese bureaucracy.

Officials in China have traditionally been reluctant to break bad news to their superiors, for fear they would be punished.

Realizing that this mindset makes governing the huge country more difficult, the national leadership has signaled on several occasions its hopes for change, emphasizing that it is opposed to cover-ups.

All rights reserved. 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.