Defective vaccines for newborns: another Chinese health scandal

The government suspended the spread of the diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus vaccine produced by Changchun Changsheng Biotech. Some parents in the province said they had lost confidence in vaccines made in China and that they will have their children vaccinated in Hong Kong and Macao in the future.


Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Another scandal is enveloping Chinese health care. The Jilin Food and Drug Administration revealed on its website that the second-largest drug manufacturer in China provided defective vaccines for newborns.

Changchun Changsheng Biotech, based in Jilin, is charged with having sold 252,600 vaccines to the Shandong Prevention and Control Center. Immunoprophylaxis concerns diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (Dpt). In November 2017, 650,000 vials of the same type had been withdrawn because they were ineffective. During the same period, the control authorities had investigated the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products for selling 400,520 ineffective vaccines in the Chongqing and Hebei provinces.

Again, a week ago, the health control office discovered that the anti-rabies produced by Changchun Changsheng Biotech also did not work. Given the continuing scandals involving the pharmaceutical company, the State Drug Administration revoked the company's license.

The authorities condemned the Changsheng Biotech to pay 3.4 million yuan ($ 502,200). According to experts, however, the amount of the fine is negligible: last year the company invoiced 566 million yuan and received 48.3 million yuan of government subsidies.

At the moment the authorities say that the vaccines are only ineffective; it is still unknown if they are harmful to health. The Dpt vaccine is given to newborn babies across the country. The first administration takes place three months after birth.

Some parents in the province of Guandong said they had lost confidence in vaccines made in China and that in the future they would like to have their children vaccinated in Hong Kong and Macao. One woman states: "Vaccines directly affect children's health. This scandal really saddens me. Can we guarantee the health of our children only if we give them imported food and imported medicines? ".

Yesterday, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang called for severe punishment for those involved. In a note published on the website of the government said: "We will pursue criminal and illegal acts that endanger the safety of people's lives, punish the transgressors and those who have failed in their duties in supervision".