Chinese children secretly drugged; widespread testing expected

The alleged unscrupulous acts of a few Chinese school teachers is apparently leading to the testing of millions of Chinese school children for a potentially dangerous antiviral drug.

As reported in The Province, teachers in two kindergarten classrooms in the central city of Xi’an reportedly gave their students moroxydine hydrochloride, an antiviral drug that was invented in the 1950s to stop the spread of flu but fell out of favor in the West.

As a result of the alleged unethical acts, more than 500 parents in Xi’an said their children had suffered headaches and pain as a result, stated a report in The Telegraph. The report suggested the reason behind the drug treatment was that the schools wanted to maximize their earnings, as they are paid only for the days that students attend school.

In response to the discovery of the medicating, China’s Ministry of Education and the National Health and Family Planning Commission ordered a “blanket inspection” of all nurseries, primary and middle schools on the mainland, stated  the South China Morning Post. This order, states multiple reports, could lead to the testing of more than 170 million Chinese children.

The report further stated the government notice condemned the schools for seriously violating the law and “causing a severe social impact”, and that five people in Xi’an, including the heads of both schools, had been detained on suspicion of practicing medicine illegally.

The article in the South China Morning Post quoted a parent of a child in one of the schools as saying: “I heard about the government inspection. But no mention was made of the progress of the investigation of the suspects or how officials will take care of the children who’ve had health issues after taking the pills. These are the two issues we care about most and need answers.”

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