China vaccine probe confirms adulteration, falsified data

Beijing: An investigation by Chinese authorities into pharmaceutical company Changsheng Biotech, which is at the centre of a vaccine adulteration scandal, confirmed that the company falsified data about its products and used expired material to make vaccines, the media reported on Saturday.

Raids conducted by a State Council team found that the firm had used expired fluids during production, had falsified production records, conducted illegal tests and carried out other illegal activities in order to reduce costs and increase production, Xinhua news agency reported.

The investigators said that the company’s management intended to destroy 60 hard drives containing data to eliminate evidence, but police had managed to recover them.

According to the preliminary report, the company “systematically” fabricated production and inspection records and issued invoices with false dates to meet inspection requirements.

Authorities had ordered the company to halt manufacture as an initial inspection between July 6-8 had found irregularities, after an anonymous employee had revealed the malpractices in an article, which was later censored, on social media networks.

Changsheng Biotech is accused of falsifying data about 113,000 freeze-dried human rabies vaccines, although the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said that the adulterated vaccines only affected around two people out of 100,000 and no serious adverse reactions have been observed.

Around 250,000 DPT (diphtheria pertussis and tetanus) vaccines produced by the company were also found to be defective.

The scandal affected the entire health sector in China, where patients often alleged that the system puts economic considerations before national health.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said the breach of regulations was “abominable” and “shocking”, and authorities ordered a general inspection of the entire vaccine sector in an attempt to regain public trust.