The State Council has vowed harsh penalties — including enormous fines — for companies and individuals involved in the country's vaccine scandal, which unleashed a huge public outcry.
Based on investigation results and the law, companies and individuals involved in the case will be subject to harsh penalties and judicial bodies will decide on criminal penalties for those found to have committed crimes, the State Council decided at an executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Monday.
Those found to have committed wrongdoing will also be expelled from the market and banned from operations related to drug production, according to a decision at the meeting, which also heard a report of the State Council investigation group regarding the illegal production of vaccines by Changchun Changsheng Bio-tech Co, a major vaccine producer in China.
The investigation group found the Changchun company engaged in grave illegal actions during the production of rabies vaccine for human use, such as severely violating national pharmaceutical standards and quality management norms for drug production, according to a statement released after the meeting.
Other misconduct included changing production techniques without authorization, fabricating production and inspection records and destruction of evidence, the statement said.
The company's actions are extremely vile in nature and are believed to constitute crimes, with the police having already detained and filed for the approval of arresting the suspects in the case, it said, adding that the State Council group will continue to investigate the case.
The country will come up with targeted measures to better supervise the research and development, production, distribution and usage of vaccines, and establish a long-term mechanism to ensure the safety of the public in using medications, it said.
It was also decided at the meeting that the whole-chain inspection and supervision that is already conducted on the 46 vaccine producers nationwide will be accelerated, and the results will be made public in a timely fashion.
The group will also offer guidance to local areas in recovery of unused vaccines involved, including those exported to other markets. The results will be delivered in a timely manner to the WHO and countries involved.
Strict inspections will be conducted for other vaccines produced by companies involved in the scandal, and problems will be rectified immediately, the statement said.
Those at the meeting also decided to conduct an in-depth investigation into regulatory bodies and ensure that those found to be negligent, or guilty of dereliction of duty or malpractice, will be held accountable.
The investigation will also cover the situation of those vaccinated with substandard vaccines and come up with response plans based on risk evaluation results by experts.