Fake DPT vaccine scandal angers Chinese; government says case has crossed moral line
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has called for severe punishment against those involved in the faulty vaccine scandal that has triggered massive outrage on social mediaUpdated: Jul 23, 2018 20:57 IST
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has called for severe punishment against those involved in the faulty vaccine scandal that has triggered massive outrage on social media, saying the case has crossed a moral line.
The scandal involving a leading biotech company first emerged a week ago when it was found that the company’s anti-rabies vaccines were faulty and didn’t meet immunity standards.
Although there are no reports of the faulty vaccines harming anyone, the case has triggered massive outrage from hundreds of thousands of people on social media after investigations revealed that the listed company Changsheng Biotechnology Co was linked to a substandard diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus, or DPT, a vaccine for infants.
The “vaccine case has crossed a moral line, and the nation deserves a clear explanation”, Premier Li was quoted as saying in a statement.
He asked the State Council (China’s cabinet) to constitute a group to investigate the matter and assured punishment “regardless of who is involved”.
The company, Changsheng Biotechnology Co is based in Changchun city in northeast China’s Jilin province.
During investigations into the rabies vaccine, details of the fake DPT vaccines sold by the same company last November emerged, indicating that the matter was hushed up.
“Changsheng Biotech Co, parent company of Changchun Changsheng Bio-tech Co, revealed in November that 252,600 doses of the substandard ADPT vaccine that couldn’t meet the standard of immunity results were all sold to Shandong province and had been recalled,” a state media report said on Monday.
On July 20, the Jilin Provincial Drug Administration announced a penalty regarding Changchun Changsheng Bio-tech Co’s substandard DPT vaccine.
The company was fined 2.58 million yuan ($282,000), and 859,000 yuan in assets from sales of the vaccine were confiscated.
“Several state media called for severe punishment and stricter supervision of vaccines. People’s Daily released a commentary on July 22 saying that drug-makers should stick to moral principles and make life their priority rather than profits,” news agency, Reuters said in a report.
“News about the vaccine scandal involving Changchun Changsheng is flooding the internet with public anger and panic. Vaccines directly concern the health of children and are related to life. Every item of negative news in this area attracts the attention of all society. Supervising and regulating the safe production of vaccines can be argued as a test of a modern country’s governance,” the tabloid Global Times said in an editorial.
The scandal remains among the top searched topics on China’s equivalent of Twitter, Weibo.
“Indians make real medicine and Chinese make fake medicines. The sale of Indian medicines is restricted while Chinese counterfeit drug makers are making a fortune,” wrote one Weibo user.
“As a mother, I am extremely angry. I want to know how to stop the fake vaccine from harming my child,” wrote another.
First Published: Jul 23, 2018 14:06 IST