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Last updated at 12:32 BST, Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Drugs scandal hits China

Summary

24 April 2012

State media in China say police have seized seventy-seven million drug capsules on suspicion that they were made from industrial waste. They say eighty production lines have been closed and many people arrested.

Reporter:

Viv Marsh

Health officials in China checking the toxic capsules

The Chinese government is investigating the alleged use of industrial waste.

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Report

The mass confiscations of suspect capsules show the authorities' determination to be seen to be acting promptly after the scandal was uncovered a week ago.

Chinese television reported then that several companies were making drug capsules from industrial gelatin, containing potentially toxic levels of chromium and retrieved from discarded scraps of leather.

The safety of food and drugs is a constant public worry in China, with frequent outcries over fake medicines and substandard products. Government investigators have now been sent to Zhejiang, Hebei and Jiangxi provinces; state media said large amounts of industrial gelatin were confiscated there and in the province of Shandong.

Among those detained are a local official and a sales manager from Hebei, who are suspected of ordering a factory to be burned down to destroy the evidence.

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Vocabulary

confiscations

forced removals, seizures

determination

strong intention

promptly

at once, speedily

gelatin

thick jelly mixture usually made from animal tissue

discarded

rejected, disposed of

frequent outcries

repeated expressions of public anger

substandard

unacceptable, low-grade

detained

apprehended, arrested

burned down

destroyed with fire

evidence

proof