China orders medical institutions not to use recalled valsartan drug

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's health regulator has called on all medical institutions to cooperate with authorities and not use the valsartan blood and heart drug that is said to pose cancer risks.

The bulk manufacturer of the drug, Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical, said earlier this month that it was recalling the valsartan drug sold in the United States after the European Medicines Agency found that it was tainted with an impurity linked to cancer.

In a notice posted on its website, China's National Health and Family Planning Commission said none of the drugs recalled should be used for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

The warning came after a Jilin-based vaccine maker was found to have falsified data and sold ineffective vaccines for children, the latest in a slew of scandals that has plagued China's pharmaceutical industry.

Earlier this month, China's drug regulator has accused Changsheng Bio-technology of fabricating production and inspection records related to a rabies vaccine regularly given to infants.

Police in the northeastern Chinese city of Changchun said on Sunday (July 29) they had asked prosecutors to approve the arrest of 18 people include company chairwoman Gao Junfang.