China halts sale of medicine in unsafe capsules

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An official from local Food and Drug Administration, left, checks out capsule medicine in a drug store in Qingdao in east China's Shandong province, Monday, April 16, 2012. China's State Food and Drug Administration suspended the sale of 13 drugs that it said are believed to have been made with capsules that contain excessive chromium. (AP Photo) CHINA OUT

BEIJING (AP) — Police have arrested 22 people in eastern China on suspicion of producing and selling capsules for medicine that contain excessive amounts of chromium, state media reported Monday.

The official Xinhua News Agency said police are investigating 43 capsule manufacturers in Xinchang county in Zhejiang province.

China's State Food and Drug Administration announced Sunday it has suspended the sale of 13 medicines that are likely to have been made with the contaminated capsules.

State broadcaster CCTV said the capsules were made from industrial gelatin, which has more chromium than edible gelatin.

China has suffered from a slew of food and drug safety problems and faces an uphill battle eliminating the widespread use of illegal drugs and additives, which are often made in makeshift chemical factories.