Chinese police seized two-billion-yuan ($315-million) worth of fake drugs and packaging in nationwide raids on counterfeit medicine on Thursday. The detained is second such exposed illegal activity in recent weeks.
Police arrested 1,770 suspects and broke up more than 1,400 dens that made or sold fake medicine during the operation, which involved 16,000 police officers, the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement.
The suspects were found to have used banned chemicals as ingredients for the counterfeit drugs, re-packaged expired pharmaceuticals and forged qualification documents, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
They had copied prescription tablets and injections from more than 100 domestic and overseas pharmaceutical firms, it added.
Most of the fake drugs were sold online or to illegal pharmacies or clinics, it said. The report did not mention whether anyone had died or fallen ill after taking the counterfeit medicine.
This is the latest such police action. On November 4, China announced it had busted a gang that produced and sold fake medicine -- some made of animal feed -- arresting 114 suspects and seizing more than 65 million counterfeit tablets.
It is also the latest in a string of food and drug safety scandals to hit the nation.
In 2007, Zheng Xiaoyu, former head of the State Food and Drug Administration, was executed for accepting $850,000 in bribes in exchange for granting approval for hundreds of medicines, some of which were later found to be dangerous.
The case triggered governmental pledges to improve supervision of the country's food and drug industries, but incidents have nevertheless erupted since then.
One of the biggest scandals emerged in 2008 when huge amounts of the industrial chemical melamine were found to have been illegally added to dairy products, killing at least six babies and sickening another 300,000.