needs tougher enforcement of vaccine regulation: WHO
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[March 28, 2016]
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China must
strengthen regulation of its market for vaccines, the World Health
Organization (WHO) said on Monday, after a bust of an illegal black
market drugs ring this month underscored the country's regulatory
Police have arrested more than 130 suspects over a scandal in which
310 million yuan ($48 million) of illegal vaccines was sold onto the
market. The value of the illegal trades could be as much as $90
"This incident has highlighted the need for much stricter
enforcement of vaccine management regulations across the board," WHO
China representative Bernhard Schwartländer said in an emailed
The vaccines, some targeting meningitis and rabies, are suspected of
having been sold in dozens of places around China since 2011.
Chinese vaccine production itself was safe, as was distribution of
vaccines through the government's Expanded Program on Immunization,
the WHO said, but regulatory loopholes remained to be tackled in the
"The problem that last week's events has brought to light, is that
distribution of vaccines for the private market does not follow the
same high standards," the WHO said.
Some crucial vaccines for children are only available on the private
market, such as those aimed at pneumonia and meningitis,
pneumococcal and rotavirus.
The scandal has stirred angry debate, casting a shadow over
government ambitions to bolster the domestic drug industry and
underlining the challenge it faces to regulate a widespread and
fragmented medicine supply chain.
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It has also drawn the ire of senior leaders, prompting regulators to
point to a lack of resources. The head of the food and drug
watchdog's drug supervision department admitted last week there were
"certain loopholes in our regulatory work".
(Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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