Censors jump into action as China's latest vaccine scandal ignites

Faith Castro
July 25, 2018

The Food and Drug Administration said in a statement on Sunday evening that its investigation had found that Changsheng fabricates production records and product inspection records, and arbitrarily changes process parameters and equipment, "serious violations" of the law.

"We always say that kids are the nation's future, but if we can't ensure the safety of such a future, what does the future hold for us?" said a 37-year-old mother with a 1-year-old daughter, as quoted by the Times.

The disclosure was the company's second major scandal in a week: just days earlier, a probe by state food and drug regulators announced that Changsheng had distributed more than 250,000 doses of a "substandard" DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus) vaccine, which was discovered previous year. A firm determination should be mustered to improve the country's vaccine management system, and utmost efforts should be made to protect the people's interests and social security and stability, he said. Ltd., though no link was found between the deaths and the vaccine, according to a joint investigation by the CFDA and the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

While there have been no apparent reports of people being harmed by the vaccine, the regulator ordered Changsheng to halt production and recall the product after the scandal emerged earlier this month.

Hundreds of thousands of vaccines provided for Chinese children have been found to be faulty, inciting widespread fury and prompting the country's President, Xi Jinping, to describe the incident as "vile and shocking".

"Defective vaccines are like child abuse and trafficking - it touches on the most sensitive, vulnerable part of the public's hearts", wrote Xi Po, a columnist for The Paper, a popular online news outlet backed by the Shanghai government. Another company, Wuhan Institute of Biological Products Co.

But it exploded on social media over the weekend, fuelled by a viral essay alleging decades of malfeasance by the company including the bribery of officials to allow low-quality products onto the market.

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The Chinese biologics manufacturer at the centre of a vaccine scandal said its chairman was taken away by the police, signalling the government is intensifying its crackdown on wrongdoing in the industry.

Also on Monday, police in Changchun, Jilin province, where the company is based, announced that they have arrested four company executives, including Chairwoman Gao Junfang. The report said that the substandard vaccines were sold to the Disease Prevention and Control Centre of Shandong province, which has a population of 100 million, and were to be given to children under a compulsory state-run health programme. It has issued a statement expressing its "deepest apologies" and has promised to learn from its mistakes.

The state-run China Daily called on the government to be "transparent" in handing the scandal.

For their mistake, Changsheng was fined 3,442,887 yuan ($507,843) by the Chinese government. In 2008, six children died and 300,000 became unwell after drinking contaminated milk powder formula.

Chinese censors have also identified the issue as highly sensitive.

The recent faulty vaccine incident has once again rattled public's confidence in the country's leadership and revealed how to the country's pharmaceutical industry is playing with the lives of thousands of people.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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