Government moves to tighten controls on China’s pharmaceutical industry led to the business licences of 160 manufacturers and retailers being revoked in 2006, a senior official has said.

3,972 drug wholesalers and 40,152 wholesalers were inspected last year, and government officials also revoked the Good Sales Practice certificates of 135 manufacturers, according to Wang Lifeng, director of the State Food and Drug Administration’s Market Supervision Department, reports Xinhua.

Licenses were removed from companies whose purchase and sale records were unsatisfactory, and from those which advertised their products illegally, worked beyond their business scope and leased or transferred their licenses without authorisation, he added.

A survey of newspaper and local television stations conducted by the Administration last year revealed 48,990 illegal drug ads, and the official warned that companies which advertised illegally and make false or exaggerated claims for their products would be blacklisted, with their names appearing on government websites.

The Administration has also announced that, to improve drug safety, it will be sending supervisors to work in pharmaceutical manufacturing sites this year. The supervisors will be sent to facilities which produce high-risk drugs, and to other manufacturers as required, Administration vice director Wu Zhen said. Lynne Taylor