China launched a nationwide drug recall system that will make pharmaceutical companies responsible for recalling harmful drugs, AP reported. The system will class Chinese-made drugs in three categories according to their potential danger, the State Food and Drug Administration said. Drugs in each class must be recalled within specific timeframes, ranging from 24 hours for the most hazardous drugs to 72 hours for less dangerous ones. The new system makes drug companies responsible for recalling defective products within the specified timeframe and to alert the government to bad reactions from patients caused by their drugs. Drug firms are encouraged to perform voluntary recalls, and may be let off without punishment by doing so. Firms that do not recall harmful drugs voluntarily will be fined three times the drugs' total value. Unlike the US, the Chinese government can order compulsory recalls of drugs. The US and China signed a product safety deal the day before the new drug recall system was announced.