China has placed in criminal detention the chairwoman of Changsheng Bio-technology Co Ltd, a vaccine maker accused of falsifying data, and 14 others involved in the case, state media said on Tuesday.
Chinese citizens are now openly asking why authorities hadn't done more to prevent the issue, he said, adding that the government needed to show it was taking a tough stance to ensure this did not become a problem that threatened social stability. This is probably the highest-level of code red the government faces.
According to a report by Xinhua news agency, an official said the company had "fabricated production records and product inspection records", as well as "arbitrarily changed process parameters and equipment" during production.
However, in addition to the rabies vaccines, the country's regulator found that the company had sold "substandard" ADPT (adsorbed diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus) vaccines.
While there have been no reports of injuries, authorities have impounded the vaccines and suspended production at the company's plant in northeastern China.
Changsheng apologised in a regulatory filing on Monday and said the suspension of its vaccine would hit its finances.More news: Priyanka Chopra And Nick Jonas Are Engaged!
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Changsheng's Shenzhen-listed shares plunged by their daily limit of 10 percent on Tuesday, extending falls that have seen it lose $1.8 billion or more than half their value since mid-July. It has made China free from polio and significantly reduced vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, and hepatitis A and B among children.
The Changsheng case is the latest in a slew of scandals that has plagued China's pharmaceutical industry in recent years.
Even beyond vaccinations, the Chengshang scandal has brought a 2008 health crisis back to the public's memory, during which milk powder killed six infants and left 300,000 others ill. In 2016, Chinese police busted a gang for selling around $90 million worth of illegal vaccines on the black market. "But unlike in cases of child abuse, the vaccine scandals involve layers and layers of broken regulators and interest groups". He called for a swift action to be taken.
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.
The Chinese biologics manufacturer at the center of a vaccine scandal said its chairman was taken away by police, signaling that Beijing is intensifying its crackdown on wrongdoing in the industry.