Abortion Pill Maker in Tainted Drug Scandal

Paralyzing meds made by Chinese firm that sells all RU-486 in US
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2008 5:00 AM CST
A customer, right, buys medicine at a pharmacy in Shanghai, China. China's food and drug safety agency has revoked the license of a company responsible for making tainted leukemia drugs blamed for causing...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A Chinese pharmaceutical giant which exports the abortion pill RU-486 to the US is accused of producing tainted cancer medication and of attempting a cover-up.  Shanghai Hualian's tainted drugs left 200 Chinese leukemia patients hospitalized, some paralyzed, reports the New York Times. There's no indication US shipments of RU-486 are also tainted. The company is the sole supplier of RU-486 to the US.

RU-486, or mefepristone, is produced in a plant some distance from the operation where the tainted drugs were manufactured. "It is natural to worry, but these two plants are in two different places and have different quality-assurance people," insisted the director of drug safety in Shanghai.