Chinese pharmaceutical exports are safe, a senior official said Tuesday, dismissing media reports that the country was a major exporter of fake or shoddy drugs as "sensational."
"I cannot agree with some foreign media allegations that China has become a major exporter of fake drugs," Bian Zhenjia, deputy commissioner of the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), told reporters.
Bian was asked during a press briefing to comment on reports of Chinese-made counterfeit pharmaceutical products being exported overseas.
"If foreign manufacturers and distributors purchase drug substances and formulas from one of China's 4,708 pharmaceutical producers, there would not be any quality problem," he said.
"Their products are safe," he added.
In January, London-based newspaper The Observer reported that Chinese drug counterfeiters were producing copies of the world's bestselling pharmaceuticals.
The report said those drug pirates managed to sell an estimated eight million fake pills to the British healthcare system in 2008.
But Bian denied the allegations, saying an investigation by British authorities had proved the report was wrong.
"There should be no more sensational tactics or attacks," he said.
However, he conceded that some illegal Chinese companies could be involved in producing fake drugs but did not elaborate.
Bian pledged China would work jointly with other countries to combat counterfeit drugs and called for overseas authorities to notify Beijing of any fake or substandard pharmaceuticals suspected to have been made in China.
"We will resolutely crack down on fake and substandard drugs made in China no matter whether they are found in the country or abroad," he said.
Bans and recalls of drug products are common in China due to widespread safety problems in the nation's chaotic, under-regulated and often corrupt health industry.
The former head of the SFDA, Zheng Xiaoyu, was executed in 2007 for taking bribes in exchange for product safety licences.
In another recent scandal, Chinese-made herbal remedies killed at least four people in October last year.