China disciplines 80 officials linked to vaccine scandal
BEIJING China's corruption watchdog on Saturday said it had disciplined more than 80 officials linked to a vaccine scandal last year that inflamed public fears over the safety of domestically produced drugs.
Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology - a major Chinese manufacturer of rabies vaccines - was slapped with a US$1.3 billion (S$1.8 billion) fine last October after it was found to have fabricated records.
Four officials from the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA), including former deputy director Wu Zhen, have been handed over to prosecutors, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a statement on Saturday.
State-run news agency Xinhua detailed the allegations against Wu, including nepotism and taking bribes. He has also been expelled from the Communist Party, it said.
"Being 'ruthless to the people', Wu allegedly abused his power in drug regulation, severely jeopardising the state's supervision over drugs," Xinhua said, citing the graft watchdog.
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection also said it would "seriously deal with" more than 80 other provincial or local officials from multiple government organisations.
These officials have already been fired or demoted, it said.
The authorities earlier said the faulty rabies vaccines did not enter the market. But the case provoked outrage from customers fed up with recurring product-safety scandals, particularly in the drug sector.
The company's chairman and 14 employees were arrested after the scandal came to light last July, while more than a dozen national, provincial and local officials were sacked. - AFP