Parents’ fury at kids given antiviral drugs

By Wang Yiqiong Source:Global Times Published: 2014-3-12 23:13:02

The principal and the physician of a kindergarten in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, have been held by police after the school was found to be regularly giving healthy kids prescription antiviral drugs.

A staffer from the publicity department of the Xi'an Party committee told the Global Times that the school's legal representative, principal and physician had been detained by police.

"The government will organize medical experts to analyze the pharmacological effects of the medicine and publish the results as soon as possible," the staffer said. "The children will receive free physical examinations at local medical institutes."

A parent surnamed Cheng said she first discovered the scandal when her 5-year-old daughter on March 6 told her about the drug-feeding activity at Fengyun Kindergarten, located in Lianhu district, the Beijing Times reported.

Later, the mother found that a pill taken home by her daughter on Friday was the moroxydine hydrochloride tablet, a prescription antiviral drug made by a pharmaceutical company in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province.

Some children confirmed that teachers in the kindergarten, which has 690 children, had fed them the pills on several occasions and asked them not to tell their parents, according to the Beijing Times report.

Another parent, surnamed Zhang, told the Global Times that he suspected that his 5-year-old son's back pain and swollen genitals were the result of taking the medicine.

According to the work records of the kindergarten obtained by the parents, dated to 2009 and 2013, teachers would get a bottle of 100 pills every week for the 30 children in each class, Zhang said.

Zhang said the parents demanded that the city government find out exactly how many pills were given to the children over the past years, since the children were too young to know.

From Monday evening, dozens of parents who learned of the scandal began to gather at the kindergarten. The crowd increased to hundreds of people on Tuesday.

Zhao Baoying, the principal of the kindergarten funded by the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation, explained that moroxydine hydrochloride was given to the children to prevent viral infections following the kindergarten physician's direction, and each child took one pill each day for three days this semester.

The physician, Huang Linxia, said she ordered medicine for the children seasonally.

Several parents complained about children having stomachaches or night sweat, which may have been caused by taking the medicine, according to the Beijing Times report.

Professor Yan Qing of the Chinese Hospital Association said it was "ridiculous" to prevent diseases by taking medicine in advance. Zhao Liwei, professor at the Jilin Medical College, said the drug will definitely have side effects if taken for long periods.

Huang Xiaohua, deputy secretary-general of the Xi'an government, visited the parents in the kindergarten on Tuesday and negotiated with them on the solution to the case, such as offering free examinations for the children.

Huang Linxia, the physician, was found to only have a physician's certificate from Guangdong Province, but was not registered locally. According to regulations, Huang Linxia is not qualified to prescribe drugs, the Beijing Times reported.

The kindergarten has currently suspended operations and had its assets frozen, the Beijing Times reported.

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