China's drug watchdog issued an emergency notice to suspend the selling and consumption of a list of capsules with reported excessive chromium contamination. The next day, a report run by the CCTV revealed that several commonly used drugs were packed into capsules made from industrial gelatin, which contains a much higher degree of chromium than edible gelatin.

Food scandals slowly spiralling out of control

Public anger surged again after media reports revealed that medical capsule products used by several pharmaceutical companies contained industrial gelatin, including high doses of chromium.

The List of Problematic Capsules (Source: CCTV)

Company
Problematic drugs
Batch number
Chrome Content
Qinghai Geladandong Pharmaceutical Co Ltd
Nao KangTai Capsules curing diseases on CCVD
1108204
39.064mg/kg
Qinghai Geladandong Pharmaceutical Co Ltd
Yushangling Capsules used to cure wounds
1008205
3.46mg/kg
Changchun Haiwai Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd
Penyanjing Capsules, a Gynecological Medicine
20110201
15.22mg/kg
Changchun Haiwai Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd
Cang'erzi Biyan Capsules used for Rhinits
20110903
17.65mg/kg
Changchun Haiwai Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd
Tongbianling Capsules used for constipation
20100601
37.26mg/kg
Dandong Tongyuan Pharmaceutical Co Ltd
Galculus Bovis and Metronidazole Capsules used for toothaches
20111203
10.48mg/kg
Jilin Huinan Tianyu Pharmaceutical Co Ltd
Natural Shield Capsules used for virus flu
091102
3.54mg/kg
Sichuan Shuzhong Pharmaceutical Co Ltd
Amoxacllin Capsules, anti-inflammatory Medicine
120101
2.69mg/kg
Sichuan Shuzhong Pharmaceutical Co Ltd
Norfloxacin Capsules used for infectious diseases
0911012
3.58mg/kg
Xiuzheng Pharmaceutical Group Stock Co Ltd
Lingyang Ganmao Capsules used for the common cold
100901
4.44mg/kg
Tonghua Golden-Horse Pharmaceutical Indusstry Co Ltd
Qingretonglin Capsules used to treat fever
20111007
87.57mg/kg
Tonghua Shenghe Pharmaceutical Co Ltd
Weikangling Capsules used for stomach diseases
111003
51.45mg/kg
Tonghua Yason Pharmaceutical Co Ltd
Yanlixiao Capsules with anti-phlogosis effect
110601
181.54mg/kg

Process: How are capsules made of industrial gelatin

Step 1:Materials
  Collected leather leftovers as materials that are supposed to be used in leather clothing.

Step 2: Liquid Industrial gelatin
 The leather leftovers were processed with calcium oxide and an industrial acid base the process of which causes the exceeding chromium content of the capsules.

Step 3: Industrial gelatin
 Concentrated and then dried liquid industrial gelatin. The chromium content of the industrial gelatin is usually around 15 times higher than the standard, which is 2mg/kg.

Step 4: Used as an edible gelatin
  Problematic capsules were made from the industrial gelatin and then sold in pharmaceutical stores.

Step 5: Liquefying the gelatin
 Liquefied and changed the color tone of the industrial gelatin before decontaminating it with chemical materials.

Customers bought and took the capsules as a cure for their sickness.

Internet users' views:

A batch of medicinal capsules was found to have been made of industrial gelatin, a substance forbidden from medical use, according to a China Central Television (CCTV) report Sunday.

@_黄小贱- :Medicine companies have already earned surprisingly huge interests, so how can they pursue the money to such a degree? Where are their hearts?

@ 拾叁浩 :I always take the capsules off and directly take the medicine contained inside them. It seems that I will have to continue doing this and discard the capsule.

@Judeflying:Why do the authorities make the punishments only after media reports? What are they doing at other times?

@ 70后760906:We didn't find the problem before, but now that we find it, can we follow the international scientific practices, and cope with these health-damaging behaviors which are caused by a lack of supervision within the market and the law?

@环保老记成亚威 :We should bring the concept of supply chain into the management of medicine companies. The medicine enterprises must take inspections over the products provided by the supply chain, and take responsibility for their quality.

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