Short items

SFDA questions contaminated heparin link 

China’s State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) has said it has found no link between chondroitin sulfate found in Baxter Inc’s blood thinning drug heparin and the deaths reported in the US earlier this year. The announcement contradicts earlier findings by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The SFDA says that the severe allergic reactions to the drug appeared in the US and Germany but not in other countries using heparin containing the same contaminant. Meanwhile, other batches of heparin produced by Baxter that did not contain chondroitin sulfate have triggered adverse effects. SFDA experts also complained that the FDA and Baxter have not provided sufficient information to support its investigation into the heparin case in the US, but both the FDA and Baxter have denied the accusation. 

Giant medical devices plant starts work 

Johnson & Johnson Medical announced on 22 April that its first medical equipment plant in China has started production in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. 

Costing US$100 million, the factory is the pharmaceutical giant’s eighth medical equipment plant. The output of the Suzhou factory will account for 10-20 per cent of Johnson & Johnson Medical’s global production. 

The Suzhou factory, one of the largest medical equipment plants in Asia, will initially focus on orthopaedic implant products, according to spokeswoman Karen Jiang of the company’s China branch. 

China’s fast growing medical equipment market is expected to be worth 100 billion yuan (US$14 billion) by 2010, second only to that of the US. 

China and Japan carbon capture effort 

China and Japan may jointly launch a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project next year, according to media and industry sources. 

The reported US$300 million project will capture carbon dioxide emissions from a thermal power plant in Harbin, in the northeastern Chinese province of Heilongjiang, and inject the CO2 into the province’s Daqing oil field to extract more crude oil, Japan’s Nikkei business daily said on 3 May. 

Official sources have declined to comment, but the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Association website says the agreement was signed during Chinese President Hu Jintao’s five-day visit to Japan, which ended on 10 May. Toyota Motor Corporation and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) are among those reported to have signed up to the project.