Thu, Jun 08, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Nine charged in counterfeit veterinary vaccine scandal

INFECTIOUS MEDICINE:Vaccines that had been diluted more than 10 times and contained live bacteria might have caused, rather than prevented, disease in pigs

Staff writer, with CNA

Nine people have been charged in a case involving the supply of fake vaccines to pig farmers, the Yunlin District Prosecutors’ Office said on Tuesday.

The people were indicted on Friday last week on charges of fraud, making and selling counterfeit veterinary drugs, and forging or altering documents in violation of the Veterinary Drugs Control Act (動物用藥品管理法) and the Criminal Code, prosecutors said.

An investigation was launched following the sudden deaths of several piglets in Yunlin and Changhua counties, after prosecutors in March received a tip-off that dubious pig vaccines were being sold to farmers.

During the investigation, prosecutors found that two men had been purchasing genuine vaccines at a cost of NT$3,750 (US$125) per vial, diluting them with distilled water and repackaging them.

The two suspects were selling the fake vaccines to animal drug distributors and pig farmers at NT$3,250 to NT$3,700 per vial, prosecutors said.

Seven other defendants were also charged because they did not verify the source of the vaccines before purchasing them from the two men for distribution, despite paying considerably less than usually, prosecutors said.

Investigators found that about 7,800 vials of fake vaccine had been sold to 32 pig farmers and about 393,600 pigs had been injected with diluted vaccines.

Many of the pigs died because the fake vaccines had been diluted to 8 percent of the normal strength and could not protect them against porcine circovirus (PCV).

The fake vaccines also contained live bacteria that might have caused infection in the pigs, prosecutors said.

The maximum penalty for making or importing counterfeit veterinary drugs is seven years in prison and a fine of NT$4.5 million, according to the Veterinary Drugs Control Act.

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