Date
21 January 2017
China has vowed to punish officials implicated in the sale of improperly handled vaccines. Photo: Bloomberg
China has vowed to punish officials implicated in the sale of improperly handled vaccines. Photo: Bloomberg

China to punish hundreds over vaccine scandal

China said Thursday that it will punish 357 officials in connection with a scandal involving the illegal sale of vaccines in the country.

According to the State Council, officials found to have been involved will be fired or demoted, and some of them will face criminal charges, the Wall Street Journal reported.

As of Monday, authorities had filed 192 criminal cases and detained 202 people in relation to the investigation, the report said, citing state media.

The State Food and Drug Administration announced in March that it identified nine drug wholesalers involved in the alleged reselling of vaccines that had been stored and transported without proper refrigeration.

Grass-roots health clinics run by local governments are said to have purchased the vaccines.

The State Council, at a meeting Wednesday, approved revised rules banning drug wholesalers from selling vaccines.

The government also said it is overhauling the procurement and distribution of for-purchase vaccinations in provinces.

The drug safety agency has said that investigators have uncovered a long-standing collusion, with some government clinics selling expired or near-expired vaccines on the cheap to vendors, who then resell them to other government clinics.

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