Oil in Antibiotic Manufacturing

Chinese regulators are looking into whether antibiotic manufacturers there incorporated recycled food grease called “gutter oil” into APIs.

Citing various Chinese news reports, in-PharmaTechnologist says the central government in Jiaozuo has accused a subsidiary of Joincare Pharmaceutical Group of buying 16,200 tons of gutter oil from Huikang Grease and then turning it into intermediate 7-aminocephalosporanic acid (7 ACA). Joincare, which Pharmalot says, denies the report, is one of the largest suppliers of the API in China.

Not everyone is appalled by the suggestion that the putrid cooking oil scraped from gutters behind restaurants may be making its way into Chinese APIs. Stan Abrams, a Beijing-based intellectual property and IT lawyer and professor, jumped to the companies’ defense in his blog, pointing out that antibiotics are obtained from bacteria isolated from fungi and mold. “We’re already squarely in the realm of putrescent slime,” he says, saying authorities should understand that.

Citing a story in the Shanghai Daily, Abrams says a long list of Chinese API makers has now been accused of using the cheaper gutter oil to replace the traditional soybean oil. He names Qilu Pharmaceutical, Charoen Pokphand Group, and two Shenzhen-listed forage makers, Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group and Tangrenshen Group.