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Chinese maker of faulty rabies vaccines fined billions of yuan

The company was caught selling ineffective medicines in July.

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An inspector looks at vaccines

An official checks vaccines at a hospital in southern China.Credit: AFP/Getty

A Chinese pharmaceutical company caught producing faulty rabies vaccines has been fined billions of yuan by national and local agencies.

China’s national drug regulator announced on 16 October that it will fine Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology 12 million yuan (US$1.7 million), and revoke the company’s licence to make rabies vaccines.

The regulator determined that when the company created several batches of faulty rabies vaccine, it broke multiple laws, including: using expired products to make the vaccine; not testing the potency of vaccines according to prescribed methods; and destroying evidence to cover up its actions.

The drug regulator of Jilin province, where the company’s headquarters are based, has issued the firm with a much greater fine: 7.21 billion yuan, which is close to double its reported assets in 2017. The local drug regulator has revoked the company’s licence to produce pharmaceuticals and has banned 14 executives and others involved in the incident from engaging in drug production in the future. It has also ordered the confiscation of illegally produced vaccines and earnings from the company, amounting to 1.89 billion yuan.

In July, China’s drug regulator announced that a surprise inspection of the company had revealed faked production data for batches of its rabies vaccines. At the same time, the Jilin government exposed violations in the company’s production of a vaccine that protects against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough). Several of the company's executives were arrested, and several top officials with the drug regulator resigned following the scandal.

The company's shares have been suspended on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. The firm has not publicly responded to the fines and penalties, but in a statement to its investors, the board said it would set up a group to handle compensation claims made as a result of the vaccine incident.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-07136-z
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