China's drug safety watchdog has urged local authorities to give harsh and quick punishments to producers of unsafe gel capsules, and vowed to build a long-term monitoring system in the wake of a scandal involving capsules containing excessive chromium.
The State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) noted at a nationwide meeting held in Beijing on Thursday that quality checks of gel capsules have been smoothly carried out by local authorities for a month since the problem was exposed. However, further progress is needed to overcome a heavy workload and other problems, it warned.
In April, reports implicated several Chinese pharmaceutical companies in the production of capsules with industrial gelatin, which contains a greater amount of chromium than edible gelatin.
Chromium can be toxic and carcinogenic if ingested in large amounts.
Yin Li, head of the SFDA, said at the meeting that the work should be accelerated to maintain the accountability of the government, demanding that all producers of dangerous gel capsules be identified, and that their products in question be recovered and destroyed.
The SFDA also urged local authorities to release timely information on the investigation of the case and the recall.