Sat, Aug 03, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Taipei investigating complaints of vaccine price hikes

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Taipei City’s Rabies Epidemic Prevention Center yesterday said it was investigating two animal hospitals after receiving complaints that they had increased prices for rabies vaccines.

Huang Chi-ruei (黃啟瑞), deputy director of the center and commissioner of Taipei City’s Department of Economic Development, said the center had received complaints from two pet owners earlier this week, accusing two animal hospitals of raising rabies vaccines from NT$200 to NT$500 per shot, or forcing pet owner to also get other vaccines for their pets.

The city’s Animal Protection Office is looking into the two cases. Raising vaccine prices is a violation of the Veterinarians Act (獸醫法) and violators may be fined up to NT$9,000, Huang said.

The center will launch a citywide investigation next week to prevent animal hospitals from raising vaccine prices, he said.

Animal Protection Office Director Yen I-feng (嚴ㄧ峰) said there are about 6,000 animal rabies vaccines available at the 232 registered animal hospitals in the city, adding that the office expects the supply of rabies vaccines to reach more than 50,000 by Aug. 20.

About 50 percent of the city’s 167,539 pet dogs and cats have received rabies vaccines, and the city aims to raise this rate to 70 percent soon, he said.

As for vaccines for humans, Taipei City’s Department of Health Commissioner Lin Chi-hung (林奇宏) said 20 people had been vaccinated in Taipei — half of whom were bitten by stray animals in other cities and China. All 20 are still under observation and should be cleared of rabies in two weeks.

Taiwan reported three confirmed cases of rabies infection to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) on July 17, ending its 52-year status as a rabies-free area.

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