Wednesday, November 12, 2008

China recalls capsules suspected of liver damage

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China has ordered a hemorrhoid medicine off pharmacy shelves over fears the capsules were to blame for liver problems, state media reported on Wednesday.

The State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) demanded the nationwide recall of the "Zhixue" capsules made by Vital Pharmaceutical Holdings Ltd in southwest China, Xinhua news agency reported.

Twenty-one people across the country suffered "liver problems" after taking the medicine in past months, and another 14 reported other problems, Xinhua reported.

But the notice posted on the SFDA website ( on Tuesday said investigators were still trying to establish whether the pills caused the illness.

"A link between the Zhixue capsules and the liver damage cannot be ruled out," said the notice. "More research needs to be done on the mechanism of occurrence," it said.

Chinese-made products, including medicines, have been beset by flaws and toxins that have alarmed consumers at home and abroad. The country's milk supply was at the heart of the latest scandal, over the unlawful use of the industrial chemical melamine, blamed for the deaths of four children.

Vital Pharmaceuticals has suspended production of the pills, and retailers and consumers have been asked to return them, said the official notice.

There was no mention in the report or notice of any of the pills being exported.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Ken Wills)

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