China drug regulator revokes license of antibiotic maker linked to at least six deaths

China's national drug regulator has revoked the license of the maker of an antibiotic blamed for at least six deaths and dozens of illnesses, the official Xinhua News Agency said Monday.

Leaders of the Anhui Huayuan Worldbest Biology Pharmacy Co. have also been dismissed, Xinhua reported but did not say if the managers would be prosecuted.

The government ordered a recall of the drug in July after a 6-year-old girl died. At least five more deaths including a 74-year-old retired teacher were later blamed on clindamycin phosphate glucose manufactured by the company.

No officials were available for comment, an operator at the company, who refused to give her name, said Monday.

China's Food and Drug Administration said in August the deaths were caused by "improper manufacturing," because the maker failed to properly sterilize the drug.

The company had shortened the disinfection process and lowered the temperature needed to sterilize the product, the FDA said.

Investigators found excessive bacteria on samples they took, state media has reported, reports AP.

Patients who took the antibiotic developed severe adverse reactions, such as chest, kidney or stomach pains, vomiting and anaphylactic shock.

China's pharmaceutical industry is highly lucrative but poorly regulated, resulting in companies trying to cash in by substituting fake or substandard ingredients.

Earlier this year, 11 people were killed after injecting a drug made by the Qiqihar No. 2 Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang.

An investigation showed the drug, called Armillarisni A, contained a chemical, diglycol, that can cause kidney failure, which a vendor had passed off as a normal ingredient.