More than 12,000 Chinese blood plasma products recalled in HIV scare

Batch of 12,000 blood plasma found contaminated with HIV in China

China is hit regularly by quality-control scandals, fuelling fear over the safety of food and medicines and anger at regulatory lapses.

Patients in Jiangxi who had used the product had also tested negative to HIV.

The batch of intravenous immunoglobulin - an immune therapy treatment made with antibodies from blood plasma - was produced by China's second-biggest medical blood products manufacturer, the state-owned Shanghai Xinxing Pharmaceutical Company.

The Shanghai Medical Products Administration said in a statement on Wednesday that the batch, identified by China's National Health Commission as number 20180610Z, was made by China Meheco Xinxing Pharma Co, a unit of state-controlled China Meheco Group Co Ltd.

In the 1990s, thousands of cash-strapped villagers in China's central Henan province contracted HIV after being persuaded to sell their blood illegally on the black market.

China has struggled in the past with the spread of HIV due mainly to infected blood transfusions, according to the BBC, but recent reports show that the number of people in the country contracting the virus in this way has dropped almost to zero. It is not clear yet whether patients have been affected by HIV. The administration sent teams to do further tests. Incidents include the falsifying of production records for rabies vaccines that prompted a nationwide crackdown on the industry and the injecting of other faulty vaccines.

The NHC said it will continue to monitor the situation and will cooperate with China's State Food and Drug Administration.

Public outrage over such scandals has alarmed the leadership of the ruling Communist Party, moving it to respond more quickly and firmly than in the past, including bringing criminal charges and billion dollar fines.

Last month, hundreds of angry parents protested against local government officials in a town in eastern China when it was revealed that more than 100 children had received expired polio vaccines.

This week's particular scandal recalls a massive HIV outbreak caused by lax sanitation procedures for plasma donations and transfusions.

"The root of AIDS in China was the plasma market", Gao Yaojie, a doctor who helped uncover the cause of the epidemic, told the New York Times in a 2016 interview. "Yet the people responsible for it have never been brought to account, nor have they uttered a single word of apology".

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