Following an investigation, Changchun Changsheng Bio-technology Ltd. was found to have falsified reports regarding the production and inspection of some 113,000 rabies vaccines, according to the South China Morning Post.
A firm determination should be mustered to improve the country's vaccine management system, and utmost efforts should be made to protect the people's interests and social security and stability, he said. The company's licence was revoked and the vaccine recalled.
Changsheng has been found to have faked production documents related to a rabies vaccine that is given to babies as young as three months, underscoring the difficulties China faces in cleaning up the image of the world's second-biggest drug industry as it aims to promote its vaccines globally. The drugmaker's chairwoman and four high-ranking managers are now under criminal investigation.
Chinese censors on Sunday deleted articles and postings about the vaccine industry as an online outcry over the country's latest vaccine scandal intensified.
Substandard vaccines from Changchun Changsheng have been administered to more than 210,000 children in eight cities in Shandong, including the provincial capital of Jinan, and in Zibo, according to the Shandong Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Authorities in Hebei announced on Monday that almost 150,000 people in the northern province received a sub-standard diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine made by another firm, Wuhan Institute of Biological Products.
After a randomized testing, it was revealed that over 253,330 doses of the DTap vaccine manufactured by Changchun Changsheng were substandard.
A plan to inoculate the infants again was made in February, CNS says.More news: After scrapping drone project, Facebook looks at satellites to boost internet connectivity
The latest problems come a little more than two years after police in northern Shandong province said they had uncovered the illegal sale of vaccines worth almost $90 million.
Additional reporting from Reuters. "Once a darling of Chinese fund managers, Changsheng Bio-tech has lost almost half of its share value since the State Drug Administration uncovered its data forgery in an unannounced inspection a week ago, and is now in danger of being delisted", the newspaper reported.
The problems have rekindled already deep fears over domestically made medicines and driven anxious parents online to swap information on obtaining imported vaccines. The reason: The products were tainted by a potentially cancer-causing impurity.
At first, it was reported the company had fabricated production records as well as product inspection records, and arbitrarily changed process parameters and equipment.
Premier Li Keqiang, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, instructed the State Council to immediately dispatch teams to thoroughly investigate the entire product chain - including production and sale - of all vaccines. He added, "Any wrongdoing will be severely punished regardless of who is involved".
China has been plagued by vaccine scandals, and the authorities have failed to squelch the problem.
Changsheng Biotechnology, the Chinese vaccine maker accused of falsifying data, plunged deeper into crisis on Tuesday as both police and the country's top graft watchdog launched investigations into the firm. The newspaper adds that the stock price of Changsheng has fallen by more than 40 percent in the past week.