Asia Pacific / Science & Health

China disciplines 80 officials linked to major vaccine scandal

AFP-JIJI

China’s corruption watchdog on Saturday said it has disciplined more than 80 officials linked to a major vaccine scandal last summer that inflamed public fears over the safety of domestically produced drugs.

Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology — a major Chinese manufacturer of rabies vaccines — was slapped with a $1.3 billion fine last October after it was found to have fabricated records.

Four officials from the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA), including a deputy director, have been handed over to prosecutors, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a statement Saturday.

The brief statement did not say what they were alleged to have done.

The graft watchdog also said it would “seriously deal with” more than 80 other provincial or local officials from multiple government organizations, without offering details.

These officials have already been fired or demoted, it said.

Authorities earlier said the faulty rabies vaccines did not enter the market. But the case provoked outrage from customers fed up with recurring product-safety scandals, particularly in the drug sector.

The drug company’s chairwoman and 14 employees were arrested after the scandal came to light last July, while more than a dozen national, provincial and local officials were sacked.