Drug firm found to have distributed substandard vaccines for rabies and DPT

Mainland Chinese authorities have found that vaccine producer Changchun Changsheng (长生生物) produced substandard vaccines using expired materials.

WebMD Vaccine

Rabies vaccine

The government investigation has so far focused primarily on substandard rabies vaccines produced by Changsheng, in which the company blended active ingredients from expired batches and newer batches to make a final product.

Chinese health authorities have stated that the substandard vaccines were of limited effectiveness, but not harmful. The official report states that only 0.002% of the patients who received a substandard rabies vaccine produced by Changsheng experienced any untoward effects, and none experienced serious symptoms.

Changsheng officials said the company produced around 3.5 million rabies vaccines last year.

Rabies in China

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), China had the second highest number of reported rabies cases in the world, with over 2,000 deaths on average reported each year for the past 10 years.

However Chinese government awareness and commitment to controlling rabies are high, and according to Ministry of Health statistics in 2009 China administered 12-15 million rabies vaccine doses annually (making China the world’s largest administer of rabies vaccine). Chinese authorities forecast national rabies elimination by 2025.

The government report states there were only 516 cases of people being infected with rabies in China last year, down from the previous year.

Diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus (DPT) vaccine

Chinese new agencies also uncovered that in addition to substandard rabies vaccines, Changsheng (in conjunctions with Wuhan Institute of Biological Products (WIBP)) produced over 650,000 inferior diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus (DPT) vaccines, most of which had been administered to children as young as three months old in Chongqing, Hebei and Shandong provinces.

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