China 'Fake Vaccine' Scandal: More Than A Hundred People Arrested For Illegaly Buying, Selling Vaccines
China is under pressure with the "fake vaccine" scandal that has left the public wondering whether vaccine in the country is still safe.
On May 21, 135 people in 22 provinces have been arrested for illegally buying and selling vaccines. Fifteen of them have been indicted and two have been convicted of illegal sale of vaccines. Ten health officials were arrested for on-duty negligence, Associated Press reported.
In a statement, the national prosecuting office said the health officials arrested worked at local public health centers.
According to State Media, police authorities in China started conducting wide investigations few weeks after a mother and daughter in Shandong Province were arrested for illegally selling $88 million worth of fake vaccines across atleast 20 provinces since 2011. The authorities had apparently responded to the issue later than expected, infuriating the public even more.
At present, there have been 190 criminal cases, involving 341 suspects, filed by the police nationwide.
The officers are looking at 25 kinds of fake vaccines sold across the country.
The news has sparked anger among the community, blaming the government for allowing such indecency to happen and questioning them how they were unable to control the situation, with some two-thirds of the country trading fake vaccines over the past five years.
China has a long history of unsafe products being sold in the market.
In 2008, a toxic chemical called melamine, found in children's milk powder, causing the deaths of at least six children and sickening another 300,000. In 2002, China was labeled unresponsive in spreading news about an outbreak of Sars, leading to the deaths of hundreds of people.
The Shandong food and drug administration vowed to cooperate to bring justice to the cases and halt the trade of the fake vaccines.
"We will thoroughly investigate all clues in the case and once we get to the bottom of it then we will severely punish those found to have violated the law," it said in a statement posted on its website.