BEIJING: China has sacked six senior government officials for their neglect of duty and misconduct following a drug-safety scandal in which a pharmaceutical company manufactured substandard vaccines, including that for rabies, exported to India and other countries.
Rabies vaccines made by the Changchun Changsheng Life Sciences Company, the second largest in China, were found to have violated national standards including usage of expired fluids and falsified production dates.
The vaccines were also widely exported, including to India.
Among the officials dismissed were Ding Jianhua, who headed two departments at the now-defunct China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA), the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) said in a statement.
Wang Youchun, deputy dean of the National Institutes for Food and Drug Control (NIFDC), was also sacked, it said.
Besides Jianhua and Youchun, four other senior officials of the CFDA were dismissed.
The NIFDC dean, Li Bo, was ordered to "make profound self-examinations", the state-run Xinhua news agency reported today.
The dismissed officials "did not provide sufficient supervision, strong enough oversight, nor were they strict enough in their inspections", the statement said.
The SAMR was formed in April this year, replacing the CFDA and two other agencies that had overlapping duties, to strengthen oversight of food, drugs, and consumer and industrial products.
Forty government officials, including seven at the provincial level, have been held accountable for their neglect of duty or misconduct in oversight over the substandard vaccines at the company at a recent meeting presided over by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The Drug Controller General of India early this month ordered an immediate withdrawal of rabies vaccines from the market and have also banned its imports from the Chinese manufacturer that allegedly fabricated records.
Also investigation by the Chinese officials into recent vaccine scandal revealed that the batch of DPT vaccines, produced in July 2016 by the Chinese firm were proved substandard due to a short-term equipment failure.
The DPT vaccines were made by Wuhan Institute of Biological Products Co Ltd.