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China tightens codeine control over addiction concerns

Updated: Dec 16,2014 7:04 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China’s drug watchdog has ordered a severe crackdown on the illegal sale of cough syrup that contains codeine, a potentially addictive prescription drug.

“Pharmaceutical companies and drug retailers must be stripped of their licenses if found to have illegally sold cough syrup containing codeine, and they will be banned from future trading,” according to a statement jointly released on Dec 16 by the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) and the Public Security Ministry.

“In recent years, some pharmaceutical companies and drug retailers have been found to have sold such products in large quantities. (As a result) abuse of this substance is worsening,” the statement said, adding that addiction and death from abuse of codeine had caused “severe social harm”.

While the CFDA failed to disclose specific cases, the statement did list two pharmaceutical companies in central China’s Hubei province as being among those to have had their licenses revoked.

Vowing to cooperate with the police in “resolutely putting an end to the abuse issue”, the CFDA said it had also boosted supervision and control on manufacturing, distribution and purchase.