Chinese government detains 2,000 suspected of trading counterfeit drugs

Simon Benarroch

According to Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, government authorities have detained nearly 2,000 people Sunday in a nationwide crackdown on counterfeit drugs, The New York Times reported

Approximately $182 million worth of fake drugs were confiscated, including those intended to treat cancer, hypertension, and diabetes. Some of these treatments, the report said, are leading to liver damage and cardiac arrest. 

Sunday's raids are part of a growing government initiative to clamp down on the prevalent counterfeit drug and tainted food distribution in China. 

Much of the distribution is happening online, which gives suppliers a direct route to customers, government officials said. Officials also admitted that the manufacture of these drugs had become harder to detect. 

Counterfeiting scandals like this resurface every few months, the report said, citing the government's execution of the head of the food and drug watchdog in 2007 "for failing to properly supervise the marketplace."

The government is now offering rewards of up to 50,000 renminbi ($8000) to anyone who helps uncover fake medicine operations.