China Strives to Improve Drug Supervision and Quality

China ’s State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) has recently been making greater efforts to improve its pharmaceutical industry, including the protection and quality of drugs on the market in China. On March 2, 2005, the National Drug Registration Working Conference was held in Beijing to discuss key areas of the country’s drug industry. In particular, the SFDA plans to implement a general scheme to help raise overall drug standards and will call for a country-wide investigation to ensure that manufacturers and marketers of pharmaceutical products comply with the current regulations.

In July 2005, Guangdong province announced plans for a new drug and health product supervision project, planning to use digital codes to identify medicines in stores. These digital codes will contain data including the product specifications and manufacturer’s information. Customers will be able to obtain information about a drug by simply entering the digital code into an online government database. The program will initially be set up in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and several other cities in Guangdong province; all cities in Guangdong province should be “digitalized” by the end of 2008. The Province hopes this new program will cut down on illegal, counterfeit and sub-standard drugs.