The Chinese biologics manufacturer at the center of a vaccine scandal said its chairman was taken away by police, signaling that Beijing is intensifying its crackdown on wrongdoing in the industry.
Changsheng Bio-Technology Co (長生生物) chairwoman Gao Junfang (高俊芳) and three other executives will not be able to perform their duties, as they were taken away by police over suspected crimes related to the vaccine case, the company said in a filing to Shenzhen’s stock exchange yesterday.
China is investigating its vaccine industry after violations found at Changsheng heightened concerns about drug safety.
The company was fined last week for having produced and sold low-quality vaccines for infants, and fabricating production and inspection data for a rabies vaccine, sparking an outcry on Chinese social media.
Shares of vaccine manufacturers tumbled for a second day after Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) described the scandal as “shocking” and called for action against those responsible for violations, Xinhua reported on Monday.
China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection yesterday said in a statement that it will “severely punish” any local regulatory officials found guilty of dereliction of duty in supervising Changsheng.
Some clues and reports of corruption related to Changsheng and its executives had already been received, it said.
Changsheng said its production and operations have been “severely affected,” and it has set up a team to deal with the situation.
Police in Changchun, where Changsheng is based, took action on Monday afternoon, taking away two other employees in addition to the executives, according to the company statement.
Changsheng shares dropped by the daily limit for a seventh straight session yesterday, falling to the lowest in three years.
Changsheng said its shares would be halted from trade today, adding that the investigation would have a major effect on its performance.
The company said it does not expect its operations to be able to resume within three months.
The firm’s shares are resume trading tomorrow.
The firm was also found to have sold 252,600 substandard DPT vaccines, a mandatory vaccine in China to inoculate children against diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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