CHINA. PENALTY GUIDELINES SET FOR FAKE DRUGS
November 29, 2007: a draft judicial interpretation spells out the circumstances in which life sentences or the death penalty can be meted out to producers or sellers of fake drugs who cause "very serious damage" to public health.
If fake drugs cause serious deformities or bodily harm to more than three people, or slight injury to more than 10 people, producers or sellers may have to be subject to such penalties, according to a draft rule made public by the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) for public comment.
The move comes amid intensified efforts to strengthen drug safety. The Criminal Law stipulates that producers and sellers of fake drugs could face life imprisonment or capital punishment if their drugs cause "very serious damage" to public health or death, but it fails to define what the "very serious" damage is, posing difficulties for courts handling such cases.
The draft was jointly written by the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate. If passed, the interpretation will be the country's first detailed guidelines on how to handle criminal cases of producing or selling fake drugs, but there is no timetable for its adoption. (Sources: China Daily, 30/11/2007)