Chinese rabies vaccine maker told to set up compensation fund
Announcement of payout pool comes day after Changchun Changsheng Life Science was fined US$1.3 billion for falsifying its records
The Chinese manufacturer of rabies vaccines that was fined 9.1 billion yuan (US$1.3 billion) for falsifying its records has also been ordered to set up a compensation fund for anyone affected by the scandal, although no one has yet made such a claim.
Changchun Changsheng Life Sciences, the country’s second-largest vaccine producer, was told it must pay between 200,000 and 650,000 yuan to anyone who died from rabies or was made sick after receiving one of its ineffective or harmful inoculations.
The announcement was made on Wednesday in a joint statement by the China Food and Drug Administration, the National Health and Family Planning Commission and the government of east China’s Jilin province, where the company is based.
The firm’s chief executive and 14 other managers were detained in July after a surprise inspection found falsified production and inspection records dating back to 2014.
The company was also found to have used out-of-date materials, mixed different batches of products and failed to test them properly.
While there have been no reports of anyone falling ill after receiving a vaccine produced by Changsheng Life Sciences, the authorities ordered a total recall of its products from domestic and foreign markets in the wake of the scandal.
In the absence of any pending claims, the Wednesday statement effectively establishes a framework for future compensation payments should any cases arise.
It said that the maximum payouts – of 650,000 yuan – would be made to the families of anyone who died from rabies after being given one of the dubious vaccines. People who suffered paralysis or required “long-term care” as a result of being injected would be paid 500,000 yuan and 200,000 yuan, respectively, it said.
Most often spread through dog bites, rabies is preventable but almost always fatal in unvaccinated people after neurological symptoms have developed. A total of 502 people died from the disease in China last year.
The order for Changsheng Life Sciences to set up a compensation fund is the first of its kind since 22 dairy firms were made to pay a combined 1.3 billion yuan to victims of the 2008 melamine-tainted baby milk formula scandal.
On social media people were quick to air their views on the compensation plan.
“Shouldn’t the [US$1.3 billion] fine be used to compensate victims … instead of filling the state coffers?” a person wrote on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform.
“You can hardly buy a flat with 650,000 yuan,” said another.