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Pressure Builds on China Over Steroids

Workers make repairs at Green Leaf Pharmaceutical in Xianju after what was described as an April fire. The company used to sell stanozolol, a steroid, but not anymore, the workers said.
Workers make repairs at Green Leaf Pharmaceutical in Xianju after what was described as an April fire. The company used to sell stanozolol, a steroid, but not anymore, the workers said. (By Maureen Fan -- The Washington Post)

Pound also said he was not clear whether the United States was receiving "full cooperation, as opposed to merely nominal or apparent cooperation" from the Chinese.

A spokeswoman for China's FDA, Yan Jiangying, said "strengthening the supervision and administration of steroids is a persistent policy of the Chinese government, which will not be changed by any influence from the outside." Yan also denied that current regulations or the government's position on steroids were unclear.

Mixed Message

Investigators may find they have to look beyond the list of targeted Chinese companies if they want to adequately address the problem.

In Xianju, workers at the Green Leaf Pharmaceutical Factory -- one of the companies that was formally accused of exporting to the United States -- were recently gutting buildings and laying pipes, following a fire in April, they said. The workers said the factory used to sell stanozolol, a man-made steroid similar to testosterone, but not anymore.

"Our clients were Chinese pharmaceuticals," Huang Guihai, a factory manager, said later in a telephone interview.

Meanwhile, in Hunan province, a new chemical factory opened recently. A woman who answered the phone at the company's sales office said the firm was owned by Xu Runxing, who also owns Green Leaf.

"We don't produce steroids or hormones," she said without being prompted.

But when asked whether the company had any stanozolol or anastrozole for sale, she said yes, apparently unaware that both are in fact hormones that are banned in sports competition.

Shipley reported from Key Biscayne, Fla. Researcher Zhang Jie in Beijing contributed to this report.


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