Changchun Changsheng Bio-technology Ltd., which produces 23 percent of rabies vaccines in China and made more than 3 million shots last year, was found to have violated protocols for drug production.
Outrage swept across China after reports emerged that thousands of children may have been injected with faulty vaccines as two vaccines, one for rabies and the other for diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (DPT) manufactured by the company have been found defective.
Changsheng was found to have falsified production and inspection records, and distributed about 250,000 defective DPT vaccines to Shandong province, which has a population of about 100 million people. A surprise inspection also discovered that the company forged the data of about 113,000 rabies vaccine.
The offense has prompted the State Drug Administration to revoke the company's license to produce rabies vaccine. Authorities have also announced that they are launching an official criminal investigation into the company.
Many of the defective vaccines were already on the market and given to Chinese children as part of a mandatory vaccination program. While a number of these vaccines have already been recalled, it is not yet clear how the defective vaccines could affect the health of the children who have been injected.
Impact On Public Trust
Amid a series of scandals that involve tainted food and drugs produced in China, parents call on the government to take more severe action. In 2008, 300,000 Chinese infants fell ill after consuming milk powder tainted with melamine. Authorities have also caught several factories in the country that produce counterfeit versions of popular soy sauce and spice mix products.
Huo Xiaoling, whose 1-year-old daughter received a vaccine produced by Changchun Changsheng, said that she would no longer buy Chinese-made vaccine since she could not trust officials to clean up this industry.
"We don't know who we can believe in," Huo Xiaoling said. "As Chinese, we probably should have confidence in our country, but getting hurt again and again has made us lose faith."
In a statement posted on government website on Sunday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said that the public deserves to have a clear explanation of what happened, citing that a moral line had been crossed.
"We will resolutely crack down on illegal and criminal acts that endanger the safety of peoples' lives, resolutely punish lawbreakers according to the law, and resolutely and severely criticize dereliction of duty in supervision," he said.