Published: Thu, July 26, 2018
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

Chinese premier orders investigation of vaccine makers

Chinese premier orders investigation of vaccine makers

Investigators are also looking into whether to file criminal charges.

The incident is a major blow for Beijing's efforts to push domestically made vaccines and for China's drug regulator, which has been struggling to clean up the world's second-biggest drug industry. It was among the most hotly discussed topics on microblogging website Sina Weibo on Monday.

"Yesterday it was milk powder, today vaccines".

In 2013, 17 children died after they were given a hepatitis B vaccine produced by Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products Co.

The CFDA revoked the company's drug GMP certificate due to severe violations of laws and regulations and demanded a recall of all unused vaccines. Millions of angry users shared the essay and other information on product-safety problems in a rare public airing of a touchy national issue.

"We will resolutely crack down on illegal and criminal acts that endanger the safety of peoples' lives, resolutely punish lawbreakers according to the law, and resolutely and severely criticize dereliction of duty in supervision", he said.

Another man from Guangdong in southern China, who gave his surname Chan said he had brought his one-year-old son to a private clinic in the same area for the PCV13 inoculation after making an appointment two months ago.

Changsheng has apologised, saying that it was "guilty and embarrassed" and would co-operate with drug regulators to carry out a comprehensive internal investigation.

Changchun Changsheng Biotech, based in Jilin, is charged with having sold 252,600 vaccines to the Shandong Prevention and Control Center.

After a brief trading halt, the shares of Changchun Changsheng's parent company also fell by the 10 per cent limit.

The wider CSI 300 healthcare index was down about 5 percent.

China's newest product safety scare burst onto the public consciousness when an obscure essay alleging corruption in the pharmaceutical industry become an internet sensation, exposing widespread anger and distrust after a string of scandals.

Last year, a batch of the vaccines immunizing children against whooping cough, diphtheria and tetanus were found failing to conform to standards for biological potency. In 2016, investigators busted a crime ring for illegally reselling millions of vaccines without following proper storage and refrigeration protocols - leaving many parents anxious that their kids might be either sickened or left unprotected from future illness.

It was recently discovered that a common blood pressure and heart drug manufactured in bulk by Chinese firm Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical may have contained an impurity linked to cancer since 2012.

Marina Cui - a 25-year-old mother from the southwestern Yunnan province whose five-month-old child took a DPT vaccine last week - said the latest revelations had made her anxious about the overall safety of vaccines.

There has been no evidence of harm from the vaccine, but the scandal has sparked a huge outcry in China.

The state-run China Daily called on the government to be "transparent" in handing the scandal. "Once a darling of Chinese fund managers, Changsheng Bio-tech has lost almost half of its share value since the State Drug Administration uncovered its data forgery in an unannounced inspection a week ago, and is now in danger of being delisted", the newspaper reported.

State-run tabloid the Global Times said in an unusually blunt editorial Sunday the provision of safe vaccines for the population was "a test of a modern country's governance".

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