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Chinese police take away chairwoman of vaccine company

27 July 2018

On July 15, 2018, the company finally entered the spotlight when China's state drug watchdog discovered evidence of forged data related to 113,000 rabies vaccines.

While there have been no apparent reports of people being harmed by the vaccine or having contracted rabies after receiving it, the regulator has already ordered Changsheng to halt production and recall all its vaccines.

That vaccine for diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus was found by regulators to fail quality standards, but the company revealed that it sold 250,000 doses to Shandong province past year. The firm was also found to have sold 252,600 doses of ineffective DPT vaccines.

There were no reports of injuries due to the rabies vaccine, but the disclosure has ricocheted around social media, touching a raw nerve for Chinese parents.

In 2016, police discovered a criminal ring that had sold improperly stored vaccines worth nearly US$90 million across China over five years.

DPT refers to a combination of vaccines against three infectious diseases: diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus.

Authorities have announced a series of investigations and vowed that heads would roll.

The company behind the rabies vaccine, Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology, has faced criticism after the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) revealed that the company had violated good manufacturing practice (GMP).

The CFDA said late on Sunday that it had ordered all production stopped at Changchun Changsheng and police have opened a criminal investigation, detaining its chairman and four subordinates for investigation.

Li's remarks were aimed at assuaging Chinese parents who complain about worrying over fake food, milk and medicine in a society that seems to lack a "moral bottom line" - and also competent, uncorrupt regulators.

Both vaccines were used in children, which has caused a particularly strong public backlash.

China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection yesterday said in a statement that it will "severely punish" any local regulatory officials found guilty of dereliction of duty in supervising Changsheng. A work team has been established to investigate potential corruption during the company's restructuring, production, and operation processes.

The company's stock dropped by 10 per cent daily during the last seven days on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and the loss in investor confidence also affected other companies in the sector, including Shenzhen Kangtai Biological and Chongqing Zhifei Biological, which also registered double-digit declines.

Jeff Sutherland and Stephen Tan for Bloomberg.

Chinese police take away chairwoman of vaccine company