China Vax Scandal Widens; Pharma Cos Investigated

March 24, 2016

Police have arrested more than 130 suspects and authorities have brought 69 criminal cases in connection with a vaccine scandal in China, reports Reuters.

The case, revealed last month, dates back to a 2015 arrest of a mother and daughter accused of illegal and improper cold storage, transport and sale of $88 million worth of meningitis, rabies, Japanese encephalitis and other vaccines. The vaccines were allegedly sold across 20 provinces around China since 2011.

According to a report by China's Xinhua news service, police are also investigating three pharmaceutical companies that might have been involved in the sales of the expired or improperly stored vaccines. So far, Shandong Zhaoxin Bio-tech is the only name that has been released in connection with the investigation.

Shandong Province Food & Drug Administration admitted that there were "loopholes" in their regulatory work that allowed the vaccines to circulate on the Chinese market for so long, pointing to a shortage of agency staff.

China’s top court -- the supreme people’s procuratorate -- announced earlier this week that it will directly oversee the investigation.

Read the Guardian article