China investigates 3 drugmakers for alleged counterfeiting

Chinese flag on Great Wall of China
Chinese flag on the Great Wall of China

Chinese regulators, which have come under criticism recently for oversight failures, have ordered three drugmakers there to recall all of their products in the country as part of an investigation into their manufacturing operations.

China’s FDA has launched a criminal investigation into the drugmakers for possibly making counterfeit meds, Reuters reported based on a government announcement. It said the China FDA is investigating Hebei Yongfeng Yaoye, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed CSPC Pharmaceutical Group, as well as Gansu Dadeli Pharmaceutical and Guizhou Shouxian Pharmaceutical.

The action comes as regulators have found themselves in the midst of a scandal after it was discovered that for about 5 years a mother-and-daughter team had bought and sold about $90 million worth of vaccines outside of the country’s approved supply chain. The two have been arrested, along with dozens of others and China is investigating whether the vaccines were compromised by not being stored and shipped according to cold chain standards.

Last week, as part of the fallout from that situation, China’s state-controlled Xinhua news service reported that action was planned against 357 officials tied to the diversion of the vaccines. Punishment was said to include demotions, firings and in some cases criminal charges. The state has already detained more than 200 people implicated in the scandal and filed criminal cases against 192, Xinhua said.  

Reports of the arrests have stirred anger among citizens who are concerned about the safety of their children, and raised questions about the ability of the government to oversee the country’s extended pharma supply chain. China has worked in the last several years to overcome that perception by strengthening its drug and food safety apparatus after being embarrassed internationally over a number of cases where tainted products showed up in China or were shipped to other countries.

- read the Reuters story 

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