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China Detained More Than 200 People And Punished 357 Officials Over Illegal Vaccines

Update Date: Apr 16, 2016 07:25 AM EDT

In the effort of the Chinese government to address the country's vaccine scandal, more than 200 people have been detained who are allegedly connected with the black market that is selling illegal vaccine.

According to Fox News, the China's government officials reported that the 202 detainees along with 357 health and regulatory officials who are involved in the illegal vaccine trades are going to be punished.

"Vaccine quality and safety are to do with people's lives and health, especially children, and is a red line that cannot be crossed," the council said in the report, released on the central government's website.

The State Council said that they will be tightened their regulatory system. They will improve the record keeping for the production, transport and storing of vaccines, and punishments for those who will break the law will be tougher.

The issue caused angry debates, questioning the government's goals to strengthen the country's drug industry and addressing the challenge it faces to control a widespread and fragmented chain of medicine supply.

Since 2011, vaccines against rabies, meningitis and other illnesses are suspected to be sold in multiple provinces around China. The government stated that they received no reports regarding negative reactions caused by the vaccine. The officials said that the vaccines were not fake; however, the drugs are traded illegally and stored improperly.

The illegal vaccines have been linked to 45 drug sales groups and we sold to 59 health institutions. The Chinese media state said that the case has "exposed prominent problems such as inadequate quality supervision and management," WDBJ 7 reported.

The government has been doing some investigations to the individuals and company for allegedly selling expired or improperly stored vaccines. The authorities have made dozens of arrest regarding the issue in Shandong's eastern province last month.

After the Shandong incident last month, the World health Organization (WHO) sent a warning that says "vaccines need to be stored and managed properly or they can lose potency and become less effective."

However, expired or improperly stored vaccine rarely causes toxic reactions, said the WHO. "Rather, the risk to children from administering expired or improperly stored vaccine is lack of protection from the disease for which the vaccine was intended," it added.

Last year, two women were arrested after being caught selling around $88 million worth of illegal vaccines. However, health officials still urging people to continue coming forward and get vaccinated, as reported by BBC.

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