Police seek approval to arrest 18 over vaccine case

Police in northeast China's Jilin Province yesterday requested approval for arresting 18 suspects involved in a vaccine scandal.

Police in northeast China’s Jilin Province yesterday requested approval for arresting 18 suspects involved in a vaccine scandal.

The police said an investigation of vaccine maker, Changchun Changsheng Life Sciences Ltd, found evidence that the company had illegally produced rabies vaccines for human use.

The suspects, all from the company including its board chairwoman surnamed Gao, are suspected of producing and selling substandard medicine.

According to China’s criminal law, the police have submitted arrest document for approval by the procuratorate. A hearing of the case is under way.

Changsheng said last week that Gao, three senior executives and two mid-level employees had been taken in for questioning by local police.

The State Council’s investigation team has seized 1,138 pages of documents as evidence, and recovered actual and forged production records via seized computers.

Criminal suspects discarded and intended to destroy 60 computer hard drives. But the police have recovered them, according to the investigation team. 

The company was found to have violated the approved production process to reduce costs and improve the success rate of rabies vaccine production.

Violations included blending different batches of vaccine fluid for product packaging, using expired fluid to produce some batches of products, falsifying dates of production, and conducting certain product testing before the entire production process was completed.

To cover up such violations, the company “systematically” fabricated production and inspection records and issued invoices with false dates to meet inspection requirements.

The company was ordered to immediately stop production after drug regulatory authorities found illegal production behavior during an unannounced inspection from July 6 to 8.

Soon after the inspection, the company replaced internal surveillance video storage cards and some computer hard drives to cover up and destroy potentially incriminating evidence.

On July 15, the State Drug Administration conducted an on-site investigation of the company.

The police have frozen relevant corporate and personal accounts.

President Xi Jinping has ordered all relevant departments to investigate the scandal.

According to data from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the incidence of adverse reactions caused by the rabies vaccine produced by Changsheng was about two per 100,000 cases, and no serious adverse reactions were observed.

In 2017, there were 516 rabies cases in China. The incidence rate has gradually decreasing in recent years.

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