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Tainted gel capsules from China not imported to Taiwan (update)

2012/05/03 17:01:09

Taipei, May 3 (CNA) Chinese-made gel capsules found to contain excessive levels of chromium, a known carcinogen, have not been imported into Taiwan, officials said Thursday.

None of the 13 types of medicine dispensed in the tainted capsules have been imported, an official of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said, adding that the relevant local authorities are working closely with their Chinese counterparts to track the whereabouts of the capsules.

The official stated that Taiwan does not authorize imports of empty gel capsules for pharmaceutical use from China.

China has seized some 77 million gel capsules made from industrial waste and containing levels of chromium in excess of 100 times permitted safe levels since the scandal unfolded last month.

The toxic capsules have been used to package various pharmaceutical products in China, including medication for colds, rhinitis and stomach disorders.

Fifty-four people have been detained and 80 production lines have been shuttered, Chinese state media reported April 22.

The MAC said it will keep working with China to track down any capsules still on the market through an agreement on medical and health cooperation signed by the two sides in 2010.

The Department of Health confirmed the government does not allow imports of empty capsules from China.

"We don't issue import licenses to China regarding capsules," a DOH official told CNA over the phone.

Various measures, however, have been adopted to prevent questionable capsules from being smuggled into the island after the incident broke out last month, he said.

Local pharmaceutical companies and the Coast Guard Administration have been asked to heighten vigilance, he added.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin and Nancy Liu)