(UR) China — China’s largest health scandal to date involving the sale of $90 million in unrefrigerated and likely fatal vaccines has caused an uproar among parents and doctors. Public backlash has reached a fevered pitch because authorities have done nothing to stop the illegal sale of ‘spoiled’ vaccines for polio, mumps, rabies, hepatitis B, encephalitis, and meningococcal diseases across two thirds of China, in more than 24 provinces.
The Food and Drug Department in Shandong just released a list of 107 suspects who allegedly supplied by a mother-daughter team that has been peddling the unrefrigerated vaccines.
Police are expected to launch an investigation; but this practice has been ongoing for five years straight, with no support from local authorities, including China’s Food and Drug Department.
“Twenty-four provinces, five years already, and how many children! It’s been nearly a year and then they reveal this! Isn’t this genocide? Words cannot express how angry I am!” posted one concerned citizen of China’s Twitter-similar microblog, Weibo.
The mother and daughter team were the top of a vaccine-selling ring. They sold the vaccines to illegal agents or local disease control and prevention centers for inflated prices, reported Xinhua, the state news agency.
“This is a matter of life and death,” one Beijing-based doctor told Radio Free Asia. “They should make an announcement about this as soon as possible … so we can locate these items and cut off the supply, so no more people are harmed.”
It looks like China’s vaccine business is no different than the U.S.’ — run by criminals and thieves. The only difference is that in China, it was just two people running a scheme that endangered thousands of lives; while in the U.S., companies like GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are fined $3 billion dollars in criminal and civil liabilities concerning their branding and use of drugs like Paxil and Wellbutrin — the largest healthcare fraud settlement in history.
Thus far, three pharmaceutical companies in China are being questioned, and 37 individuals have been arrested by police. Shandong Zhaoxin Bio-tech Company has had its good supply practice (GSP) certificate for pharmaceutical products revoked and was ordered to halt operations. A sweeping check of all local vaccine providers has also been issued since the story first broke just a month ago. The World Health Organization says that even expired vaccines are still safe, but whistleblowers argue this is not the case.
What seems most similar is that while lives are put in danger, government agencies — both in China and the U.S. — simply look the other way. The corporate media reports that this scandal will likely cause more people to mistrust vaccines in general. Time reportedthis could, “portend more widespread public-health concerns. The rise of the antivax cult in the U.S. and Europe, despite zero medical evidence of dangerous side effects, demonstrates how harmful misinformation can flourish even within democracies with freewheeling media environments.”
Or just maybe — as the potential dangers of vaccines start to finally circulate freely — people will make more informed choices.
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