China: More than 40 officials held accountable for vaccine scandal

21 Aug, 2018
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By Liu Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/19 22:08:40



Scale of punishment shows govt’s resolve

More than 40 officials including seven provincial- or ministerial-level officials were deemed accountable for the substandard vaccine scandal this weekend as Chinese observers called for the establishment of a new and better food and medicine safety supervisory system.

Five officials at the China Food and Drug Administration including Ding Jianhua, who headed two administration departments, were removed from their posts, the State Administration for Market Regulation said in a statement on its website on Saturday.

National Institutes for Food and Drug Control Dean Li Bo was ordered to “make profound self-examinations,” while Deputy Dean Wang Youchun was sacked, read the statement.

The defective vaccine case had exposed loopholes and relevant officials were found in dereliction of duty, the statement said. They had provided insufficient supervision and were not strict enough about inspections.

Changchun Changsheng Bio-technology Company in Northeast China’s Jilin Province came under fire last month for supplying ineffective diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus (DPT) vaccines as well as forging data for rabies vaccines.

The Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on Thursday dismissed other senior officials involved in the Changsheng scandal.

Jin Yuhui, vice governor of Jilin Province, who had supervised food and drugs in the province since April last year, was sacked. 

Also shown the door was Li Jinxiu, vice chairman of Jilin Provincial Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and 2015-17 Jilin vice governor. 

Changchun Mayor Liu Changlong was fired as well, the Xinhua News Agency reported. 

“The massive scale of officials being punished for the vaccine scandal shows the Party and the central government’s resolve to hold accountable those who hurt the people’s interests,” Su Wei, a professor at the Party School of the Chongqing Party Committee, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

“The accountability system will remind officials to better shoulder their responsibilities.”

Improving selection and accountability of officials could modernize governance, Su said.  

The scandal had “damaged the bottom line of society,” Zhi Zhenfeng, a legal expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times. 

People were worried, and “accounting for those who are responsible is responding to society’s concerns,” Zhi said.

“We should learn not only from this vaccine scandal but also from other incidents related to food and medicine safety,” Zhi said. 

“It’s time to rethink the way we develop the food and medicine industry, and promote a better supervisory system.”

Eleven officials in Central China’s Hubei Province have also been punished for substandard DPT vaccines produced by Wuhan Institute of Biological Products Company, Xinhua reported.

Food and drug administration officials and the head of the Jilin government and the Changchun mayor must take the main responsibility, according to a release from the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection on Saturday.

“Those officials have a duty to supervise and they should account for their responsibilities,” read the commission’s release on Sunday. 

“If they had fulfilled their responsibility to supervise drugs in the first place, how could a substandard vaccine go to market and how could the bottom line of public health be ruined like this?” 

They all deserved their punishment, the release said.

The commission release noted the most serious disciplinary punishment was reserved for Wu Zhen, former deputy of the food and drug administration. 

In response to reports of officials once sacked then reappointed, Su said, “Some punished officials may have violated discipline to get back their previous positions by using bribery.”

Under Party and government regulations, those officials held accountable or those who admit responsibility, resign or are ordered to resign, must not take any new position for one year. 

For two years they should not be appointed to any position higher than their previous position.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 21st, 2018 at 7:10 am and is filed under Latest News.

Literature Literature archive

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MJ Bayefsky, LOGostin 2018 JAMA Pediatr. online Dec 28, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.4283
K I Hammanyero, S Bawa, F Braka, et al. 2018 BMC Public Health Vol 18 (Suppl 4) :1306

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