October 14, 2018 / 9:20 AM / a month ago

Embattled Chinese drug maker to get $43 mln in government support

SHANGHAI, Oct 14 (Reuters) - A Chinese city government has given 300 million yuan ($43 million) to drug maker Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals, the company said, after it was recently faulted by U.S. and European regulators over production issues at one of its plants.

It described the money as “industrial development assistance funds” in two announcements made through the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Friday and Saturday, but did not say how the funds would be used.

The money was given to Zhejiang Huahai between August and October 11 by the city government of Linhai, where the company is based in the eastern province of Zhejiang, it said on Saturday.

Its public relations department did not respond to telephone calls from Reuters to seek comment on Sunday, a public holiday.

A wholly-owned domestic subsidiary that got some of the money is responsible for drug research and development, manufacturing and the import and export of materials and technologies, Huahai said in its 2017 annual report in March.

Chinese corporate records do not list an official English name for the subsidiary, which translates as Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical Science and Technology.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently barred the import of drug ingredients made at Huahai’s Chuannan factory, or medicines using such ingredients, following a lengthy inspection of the plant.

The step followed Huahai’s announcement to customers and regulators, from late June, that it had found a probable carcinogen in its blood pressure drug valsartan.

European authorities recently suspended authorisation for the factory to make the drug, the website of the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines showed.

Zhejiang Huahai faces several lawsuits in the United States over the valsartan issue, it said this month. Its shares have fallen 35 percent in the last month. (Reporting By Alexandra Harney)

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