People’s Procuratorate of Taizhou City, Jiangsu Province v. Wang Guiping [江苏省泰州市人民检察院诉王桂平]

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Country: China
Region: Asia
Year: 2008
Court: High People's Court of Jiangsu Province
Health Topics: Medicines, Public safety
Tags: Drug quality, Drug safety, Drug testing, Manufacturing, Safety regulation, Spurious medicines

The defendant appealed a decision from the Intermediate People’s Court of Taizhou City, Jiangsu Province (the “Intermediate Court”) finding him guilty of: (1) endangering public security by dangerous means; (2) selling counterfeit or fake products; and (3) falsely declaring registered capital.

In 2005, the defendant used a counterfeited business license to develop a relationship with Qiqihaer Second Pharmaceutical Corporation (the “Corporation”). As a result of that relationship, the Corporation ordered one ton of medical propylene glycol from the defendant. The defendant instead supplied diethylene glycol, which cannot be used in medicines. Evidence showed that the defendant tested the substance on himself before selling it to the Corporation. As he suffered only intense stomach pain and not more serious consequences, he went ahead with the sale. The glycol failed the Corporation’s testing, but the Corporation created a false test report to allow the use of the glycol in medications. The diethylene glycol was used by the Corporation to produce Armillarisin A injections, which were then disseminated for use in clinics. As a result of the use in clinics, the injections were administered to over sixty patients. Fifteen patients suffered acute renal failure and fourteen died.

Evidence also showed that between January of 2005 and April of 2006, the defendant passed off industrial propylene glycol as medical propylene glycol and diethylene glycol as ethylene glycol and poly propylene glycol and sold them to the Corporation and two other pharmaceutical companies. The defendant also used false documents to obtain a capital verification report that was used to acquire a business license from the Taxing Industry & Commerce Administration Bureau for Jiangsu Meiqi Fine Chemical Industry Corporation.

As a result of the conduct above, the Intermediate Court convicted the defendant under the applicable criminal laws. Although the defendant admitted that he was guilty of selling counterfeit or fake products and of falsely declaring registered capital, he contested that he was not guilty of endangering public security by dangerous means because he lacked the criminal intent required and there was not a direct causal connection between his conduct and the injuries. He claimed that the failure of the Corporation to test the materials according to procedure broke the chain of causality. The defendant also claimed that the original penalty by the Intermediate Court was too severe as he had cooperated and been truthful with authorities from the beginning of the investigation.

The Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the conviction on three counts from the Intermediate Court. The defendant was subject to lifetime imprisonment, lifetime loss of his political rights, and a fine of RBM400 000 yuan.

The Court found that the defendant possessed the necessary level of criminal intent and that the causality was sufficient. The defendant knew that the dietheylene glycol would be used for medicine and that it was not appropriate for that use. The Court found that the defendant allowed the harmful consequences to occur and therefore had indirect criminal intent to endanger public security by dangerous means. With regards to causality, the Court found that the failure of the Corporation to properly test the products was independent and did not break the chain of causality.

With regards to the defendant’s claim of cooperation and truthfulness, the Court found that the defendant had in fact lied multiple times during the investigation and therefore the sentence imposed by the Intermediate Court was not improper.

“[T]he appellant [defendant] not only knew that the diethylene glycol brought by the pharmaceutical companies was to be used in medicine producing, but also knew that diethylene glycol could not be used in medicine, without harm to other’s health. For the purpose of obtaining illegal interests, however, the appellant allowed the harmful consequences to occur, and had indirect criminal intent of endangering public security by dangerous means.” Page 12.

“[A]lthough Qiqihaer Second Pharmaceutical Corporation used the diethylene glycol passed off by the appellant [defendant] as propylene glycol to produce medicine, and did not test the medicine according to rules, and there was some independency in the company’s act, the causality between the appellant’s act and the serious consequences could not be denied.” Page 12.