Vaccine Scandal Pushes Trade Off Front Page

The top story in iFeng's finance section over this weekend and on Monday is the vaccine scandal. Number two is the ongoing battle between the PBoC and MoF.

iFeng: 习近平对疫苗案件作出重要指示:要一查到底 严肃问责
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, president of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, made important instructions on the Changchun Changsheng Biological Vaccine Case in Jilin Province, pointing out that Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology Co., Ltd. illegally produces vaccines in violation of laws and regulations, and its nature is terrible. Relevant localities and departments should attach great importance to it, immediately investigate the truth of the matter, check it in the end, be serious and accountable, and deal with it strictly according to law. It is necessary to promptly announce the progress of the investigation and effectively respond to the concerns of the people. Xi Jinping emphasized that ensuring drug safety is the unshirkable responsibility of party committees and governments at all levels. We must always put the physical health of the people in the first place, and take the determination to use drugs to cure phlegm and cure bones, improve China's vaccine management system, and resolutely defend safety. The bottom line is to fully protect the vital interests of the people and the overall security and social stability.

Li Keqiang, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Premier of the State Council, issued an instruction request. The State Council immediately sent an investigation team to conduct a thorough investigation of the entire chain of all vaccine production and sales, and to find out the truth as soon as possible, regardless of which enterprises involved and who are determined. Strictly punish and not tolerate. We will resolutely crack down on all illegal and criminal acts that endanger the safety of people's lives, and resolutely punish those who violate the law according to law, and resolutely and severely criticize the behavior of dereliction of duty and dereliction of duty. As soon as possible, the people will have a safe, secure and trustworthy living environment.

According to the instructions of Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, the State Council established a special working mechanism and sent an investigation team to Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology Co., Ltd. to conduct an investigation. The investigation team will promptly complete the investigation of the case, the investigation of the responsibility, and the investigation of the hidden dangers. Jilin Province established a provincial and municipal level investigation and handling leading group, cooperated with the investigation team of the State Council to do relevant work, and comprehensively investigated high-risk pharmaceutical companies in combination with this case. Jilin Food and Drug Administration has recovered the GMP certificate for Changchun Changsheng Rabies Vaccine Drugs, stopped the production and sales of the company's rabies vaccine, and suspended the issuance of all products of the company.
SCMP: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang promises to clean up vaccine industry, just as he did in 2016
In a report on Monday, newspaper Dazhong Daily quoted the Shandong Centre for Disease Control and Prevention as saying that while the DPT vaccines, which are used to inoculate children against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus, are ineffective they are not thought to be harmful.

It said also it had records for all 215,184 children who were given the shots.

...The State Drug Administration said on July 15 that during an unannounced inspection of the listed company, officials discovered forged data relating to about 113,000 rabies vaccines. Such was the severity of the offence that the watchdog revoked the company’s licence to produce the drug and said it might launch a criminal investigation.
SCMP: Investors lose faith in Big Pharma as China’s vaccine scandal recalls memories of product safety woes

SCMP: As new vaccine scandal grips China, parents say they’ve lost faith in the system
It was not yet known how many children had been given the inferior vaccines against three infectious diseases – diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus – through the state-sponsored disease control system.

But the announcement came just five days after the state drug regulator uncovered data forgery in the Shenzhen-listed company’s production of about 113,000 rabies vaccines on Monday during an unannounced inspection. The offence was so serious that the State Drug Administration revoked the company’s licence to produce the rabies vaccine and has said it may launch a criminal investigation.

Changsheng Bio-tech – which means “long life” in Chinese – is the latest company in the scandal-plagued pharmaceutical industry to be found producing vaccines that are not up to standard.

In November, the state drug watchdog revealed that another big vaccine maker, the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, had sold 400,520 inferior DPT vaccines to Chongqing and Hebei. It is still unclear how many children had been given these vaccines, and the company has yet to be punished.
Back in July 2008 there was a similarly huge health scandal involving babies: the melamine milk scandal. Farmers and milk processors were adding melamine, a plastic, into the milk to fake the protein content. Babies died from malnutrition as well as kidney failure and kidney damage. Estimates put the total number of babies harmed at 300,000.

Aside from being a healthcare scandal involving babies, the vaccine scandal also comes at a similar juncture in the economy and stock market, down to the monthly candlestick (still in formation). China suffers from lax enforcement of regulations and health scandals are common. Any number of scandals has the potential to go viral at any moment, yet here are two similar cases popping up at a similar period in Chinese social mood. Why?

During negative social mood, people are more critical of business and governments. In good times, people forgive criminal corruption. In bad times, legitimate mistakes or failures can become criminalized and criminal corruption is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Problems that were allowed to simmer for years bubble up and are tackled in healthy societies. In unhealthy societies, anger is misdirected into wars or unproductive policies.

In China, it is also difficult for the people to express their anger at the government. Media is highly censored. Social harmony is at a premium. A health scandal (or something else that doesn't directly implicate the leadership) affords the public an opportunity to vent their anger. During a period of negative mood, anger is rising and people need targets. In 2008, a melamine scandal. In 2012, anti-Japan riots. (Those riots came amid a decline in stocks and also came near a very similar candle formation on the chart.) In 2018, a vaccine scandal.

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