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President Xi orders probe into vaccine scandal

Writer:   | Editor: Lily A  | From:  | Updated: 2018-07-24

President Xi Jinping has ordered a thorough investigation into an illegal vaccine production case and serious punishment of those found responsible.

Xi said this in an instruction while he is visiting foreign countries.

The people’s health should always be a top priority, and the bottom line of safety should be resolutely guarded, Xi said.

Xi said the illegal production of vaccines by Changchun Changsheng Bio-tech Co., a major vaccine producer in China, is vile in nature and shocking.

He urged related departments and local governments to pay close attention to the incident and immediately carry out a thorough investigation into the facts and ensure those responsible face the full force of law.

All information should be released in a timely manner to answer the concerns of the public, he added.

Xi said it is the bound duty of governments at all levels to ensure drug safety.

He demanded the authorities to improve the national vaccine management system with the determination of scraping the poison off the bone and hold the bottom line of safety, sparing no effort to guarantee the vital interests of the public as well as social security and stability.

On Sunday, Premier Li Ke-qiang announced a “thorough” investigation of China’s vaccine production and sales process, saying the incident had “broken people’s moral bottom line.”

“Those involved will be resolutely punished with zero tolerance. The government will resolutely crack down on all illegal and criminal acts that endanger the safety of people’s lives,” a statement released by the Central Government said.

Li said in the statement that the public deserved a clear explanation as a moral line had been crossed.

“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 was quoted as saying.

Li stated that the State Council would dispatch an inspection team to investigate the production procedures and sales chains of all vaccines in question.

Police in Northeast China’s Jilin Province yesterday started investigating five people from Changsheng over suspected crime in the production of the rabies vaccine for human use.

The chairwoman surnamed Gao and four high-ranking managers of the Changchun Changsheng Life Sciences Limited are under criminal investigation based on a case transferred from the provincial food and drug administration, according to the Changchun New Area branch of the public security bureau of Changchun City.

The State Drug Administration will conduct unannounced inspections on all companies that produce vaccines.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Shandong, the 252,600 doses of substandard DTaP vaccine sold by Changchun Changsheng Bio-tech were distributed to Jinan, Zibo, Yantai, Jining, Tai’an, Weihai, Rizhao and Laiwu in Shandong. 215,184 children were injected the substandard vaccine.

In Hebei, 143,941 children in Shijiazhuang, Langfang and Dingzhou were given substandard DTaP vaccine produced by Wuhan Institute of Biological Products Co.,Ltd., said the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Hebei.

Some substandard DTaP vaccines produced by Wuhan Institute of Biological Products Co, Ltd were also distributed to Chongqing, but the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Chongqing has not yet provided details.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Shandong, Hebei and Chongqing said they would vaccinate those affected again.

Shares of vaccine-related companies fell yesterday due to the vaccine scandal exposed over the weekend. Shares of Changchun High & New Technology Industries (Group) Inc; Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products Co, Ltd; Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products Co, Ltd; and Walvax Biotechnology Co, Ltd fell by the daily limit of 10 percent. More than 37 billion yuan was wiped out from 51 shares related to biological vaccines as of 9:40 am. Changsheng Bio-tech Co escaped the beating as it suspended trading on Monday.

China’s drug regulator said Sunday that it has ordered Changchun Changsheng Life Sciences Ltd. to stop production and launched an investigation into the company over illegal production of rabies vaccines for human use.

An official with China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) said it found that the company had fabricated production records and product inspection records, arbitrarily changed process parameters and equipment during its production of freeze-dried human rabies vaccines.

The CFDA had revoked the company’s drug GMP certificate following its serious violations of relevant law and regulations, and demanded a recall of unused vaccines, according to the official.

Changsheng, a listed company at Shenzhen Stock Exchange, has also been put under investigation by China Securities Regulatory Commission for law violations and irregularities in information disclosure, the commission said yesterday. The company said in a statement that it faces risks of being delisted.

Changsheng shares, which resumed trading yesterday afternoon session after being suspended in the morning, were down 10 percent. They have slumped 47 percent since mid-July.