China Earthquake Shakes Up Pharma Do-Gooders

May 20, 2008

Chengdu, China (May 22)—The devastating May 12 earthquake that struck the Wen Chuan Sichuan province of China left tens of thousands dead, homes and businesses destroyed, and survivors without basic human needs such as shelter, food, and medicines. The quake also had a significant impact on the local industries of the region. Pharmaceutical companies located within the affected areas are assessing possible damage to facilities and loss of personnel. And in response to the area’s need for medical supplies, pharma companies inside and outside of China are offering help to the people left devastated by the disaster by providing drugs and medical devices.

The majority of pharmaceutical plants located in the region have not yet reported any significant structural damage or loss of personnel because of the quake. Huifeng Bio-Pharmaceutical Technology, Inc (Xi’an, China), a developer and producer of plant extracts and pharmaceutical raw materials, announced that there was no damage to their facilities and workers have returned to the operation. “We are terribly saddened by the loss of life and property in the Sichuan Earthquake. While we are happy to report that neither our employees nor our facilities suffered any harm, Huifeng is prepared to provide support to the victims of this terrible disaster,” company CEO Jing’An Wang stated in a company press release. American Oriental Bioengineering also reported no significant impact. “Our thoughts are with the many victims of China’s earthquake and we are thankful to report that none of our staff was hurt in the tragic events. Our manufacturing, production, and overall operations were not impacted by the earthquake and we do not anticipate any damage-related impact to our sales in the second quarter,” stated Tony Lui, chairman and CEO, in a company press release.

However, not every pharmaceutical company came away unaffected. Tongjitang Chinese Medicines Company, located in Shenzhen, announced on May 14 that the quake damaged the water piping system in its Guiyang facility. The damage compromised the production of the osteoporosis drug Xianling Gubao (XLGB), and the company temporarily halted production.  Xiaochun Wang, Tongjitang’s chief executive office, stated in a company press release, “We are committed to the highest quality levels of production. Currently, we are working diligently to make sure that production will be resumed as soon as conditions allow.”

According to The Associated Press, Doctors Without Borders has reported that pharmacies in the area have been destroyed, leaving a shortage of medicines. The pharmaceutical industry has responded to the devastation with donations of cash and supplies from nearly all pharmaceutical companies, big and small, across the globe and from companies inside China. According to Interfax China, Sinopharm has donated $3.57 million in drugs and medical devices that include ventilators, electrocardiogram monitors, and IV infusion kits. China Pharma Holdings (Hainan) announced on May 16 that it donated over $280,000 of antibiotics, antivirus, and anti-cold products to the relief effort. Jade Pharmaceutical (Hong Kong), a subsidy of AMDL (Tustin, CA), donated more than $70,000 in products to the China Red Cross. Donations continue to arrive to relief organizations in the region from companies and individuals around the world.

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