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Monday 16 January 2012

200,000 Chinese people forced to undergo medical experiment?


200,000 Chinese people forced to undergo medical experiment?

Beijing: Some two lakh residents in Shandong province in eastern China were forced to take drugs as part of a medical experiment for gastric disorders, an Internet blogger has alleged, prompting a local official to say that the treatment was "voluntary".

Provincial officials have denied claims made in a recent micro-blog post which said that more than two lakh residents in Linqu County were taking unknown drugs delivered by the local health department, and some residents suspect they are part of a medical experiment, the state media reported.

"The event may be driven by profits, some departments or officials ignoring people's health, we need to find out the truth," wrote an Internet user wrote on Sina Weibo, China's most popular Twitter-like micro-blog, state-run Xinhua news agency reported today.

Thousands of netizens have since forwarded the post and voiced concern about people in the county.

However, the mass use of drugs in Linqu County is voluntary and is an attempt to battle gastric diseases prevalent in the area, the report quoted officials and some local residents as saying.

According to Wang Wenxiao, chief of the village's Communist Party committee, Xujiashangzhuang village. The health department of Linqu county supplied free medicine for some villagers to reduce incidences of gastric diseases.

"Villagers between 25 to 55 years old received health check-ups before taking medicine, and 185 of them were diagnosed with helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) infection, which would cause gastric cancers or other gastrosias," said Wang.

However, a few villagers said they had some adverse reactions to the treatment, the report said.

"The four kinds of medicine that the people took were omeprazole, tetracycline, metronidazole and bismuth potassium citrate, which are all regular prescriptions for gastric diseases, not new testing drugs," said Wang.

In June 2010, Beijing Cancer Hospital, the International Digestive Cancer Alliance and the Technical University of Munich jointly launched an intervention project for mass H.pylori infection, aiming to treat 200,000 residents in the area of Linqu County within two to three years.

"Linqu County is a place with high gastric cancer incidence in east China, with the incidence rate here being about two times the average in the country," said Zhang Lian, a professor with Beijing Cancer Hospital who is in charge of the project and has been working in Linqu more than 20 years.

"So we launched free health check-ups and treatment for the masses, and promote the research in an intensive way," Zhang said, adding that all the check-ups and treatments are based on individual agreement, and they can give up the treatment anytime."

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