Some hemophiliacs in China had died since July because they could not get any factor 8 -- a protein necessary for blood clotting -- to stop bleeding, the Beijing News said on Friday.
The shortage was caused by shrinking plasma supplies after the government launched a campaign in 2004 to shut down small blood collection centers and beef up safety measures in the manufacture of blood-based drugs, the newspaper said.
Plasma made into the drugs in the country had dropped from up to 5,000 tones to less than 3,000 tones a year, it added. Plasma procured now also needs to be stored for 90 days and screened for HIV or Hepatitis C before being processed.
Even big hospitals in major cities had little or no stocks of factor 8 as only three pharmaceutical companies in China were still making the drug, the Beijing News said.
The situation has prompted a dozen mutual-help groups of hemophiliacs to write an open letter seeking help from state leaders.
"We appeal to the government to take urgent action to import large amounts of factor 8 from abroad and save the lives of Chinese hemophilia sufferers," said the letter addressed to
President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.