05/21/2016, 15.10
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125 people arrested for trafficking toxic vaccines

The system was operating in 22 provinces, with a total turnover amounted to half a billion yuan. Health officials also among those arrested. They bought adulterated vaccines, distributing them to unsuspecting citizens. The incident came after the arrest of a doctor who sold millions of doses that had expired or stored incorrectly.


Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Chinese authorities have arrested 135 people in 22 different provinces of the country, on charges of trafficking and illegal trade in vaccines for a total of half a billion yuan. The latest (of many) of scandals in the health sector - as well as environmental and food – was reported by the official Xinhua news agency and the affair could jeopardize public confidence in the use of vaccines for the prevention of many diseases.

In a statement released yesterday, the prosecutor's office confirmed the arrest warrant issued against 125 people, dedicated to the trade of vaccines without the legal permission.

Of these, 15 are being informally investigated, two were convicted and 10 health officials have ended up in prison for negligence at work. The latter bought illegal vaccines, distributing them to unsuspecting citizens.

The judiciary launched the investigations after a story came to light in March of a doctor of eastern Shandong province who was stopped for having sold two million doses of vaccines that had been expired or stored incorrectly. The doctor kept the medicine at room temperature, rather than in refrigerated rooms.

In this case the vaccine may lose its effectiveness and does not protect the person which is inoculated. The seized drugs include vaccines against hepatitis B, rabies, mumps, and Japanese encephalitis. The Beijing authorities have called for a quick investigation on the matter, to stop the illegal trafficking; a scandal that threatens to throw even more discredit on the Chinese health system and, in particular, on the vaccine distribution system.

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