China Establishes New Bureau Against Fake Food, Drug

A pharmacist refills a container in a drug dispensing machine at the Rock Canyon pharmacy in Provo, Utah, U.S., May 9, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/George Frey)

China established a new bureau under the Ministry of Public Safety on Saturday to battle the rampant manufacture and sale of fake and dangerous products. The Food-and Drug-Related Crime Investigation Bureau will be headed by the former director of the ministry's auditing bureau, Lyu Wuqin.

The death of a three-year-old girl in eastern China a day after she received an anti-rabies vaccination attracted the attention of millions of people as the investigation continues. The story of her death went viral on Weibo, a microblogging site, gaining at least 30 million readers.

According to reports, the girl was given a vaccine after she was scratched on the finger by a pet dog in a local hospital in Lianyungang city in the Jiangsu province. She died the next afternoon after experiencing high temperature that could not be controlled by medication. The vaccine shots given to the girl was produced by Guangzhou Promise Biological Products and it was approved for release by the National Institutes for Food and Drug Control.

China ramped up its regulation in the manufacture and distribution of the vaccines to restore public trust. One of the biggest rabies vaccine makers in China, Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology Company was fined $1.3 billion and its production was stopped after investigations revealed that it had given faulty vaccines to hundreds of thousands of children.

According to Mr. Liu, his department will coordinate with other relevant offices that include the food and drug administration and the environmental protection authorities to make sure that food and drug products are clean and safe.

The new department is in charge of compiling evidence for prosecutions of cases involving food and drug products. The law professor from the People's Public Safety Security University of China, Dai Peng, said that the new department will act as a professional team for obtaining solid evidence against suspects that will lead to severe punishment.

The professor noted, usually, public security officers at all levels are trouble with the handling of food-and drug-related crimes because of a lack of specialized knowledge, practical experience, and relevant skills. China has been extending huge effort in solving the growing food and drug safety in China.

The data from the Mistry of Public Safety reflected that the police have arrested 26,000 suspects involved in drug and food-related crimes. There are a total of 21,000 crimes involving fake or substandard food and drugs, as well as environmental pollution between January and October in 2018.

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