China is conducting a nationwide crackdown on pharmaceutical companies after one of the country’s largest vaccine producers was found guilty of falsifying records and malpractice.
Changchun Changsheng Life Sciences Ltd was fined a whopping US$1.3 billion fine after an investigation proved that the pharmaceutical company was using expired materials to create a rabies vaccine, mixing random batches together, and neglecting to test them properly, the China National Drug Administration (CNDA) said Tuesday.
The company was also accused of "destroying hard drives and evidence to conceal illegal actions" and 14 of its executives as well as its chairwoman were arrested while dozens were banned working in the drugs sector. A separate fine of 600,000 yuan was imposed on Changsheng Biotechnology and at least four top executives.
An investigation was launched in late July after a surprise inspection discovered the fabricated data. Although authorities assure the vaccine never reached the market, the scandal triggered a public outcry and protests, demanding more thorough administration over the drug industry.
Chineses President Xi Jinping said the vaccine scandal was “shocking” and “vile.” Li Keqiang, the Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, said the incident, “violated a moral bottom line.”
However, China is regularly bombarded with toxic food, faulty medications among other products, despite state assurances that the issue will be addressed, local media reports.