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China fines pharma firm US$1.3b in vaccine scandal

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The massive fine is the latest move by authorities to punish Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology company, based in northeast Jilin province, over the faulty rabies vaccine.

[BEIJING] Chinese authorities have slapped a fine and asset seizure totalling a whopping US$1.3 billion on a pharmaceutical company over a vaccine scandal that fuelled public fears of domestically-made medicine, drug regulators said Tuesday.

The massive fine is the latest move by authorities to punish Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology company, based in northeast Jilin province, over the faulty rabies vaccine.

The firm's chairwoman and 14 other people were arrested in connection with the scandal in July, while a slew of national, provincial and local officials have been sacked.

The manufacturer of rabies vaccines was ordered to cease production after it was found to have fabricated records.

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Authorities say the suspect rabies vaccines did not enter the market. But the case provoked outrage from consumers fed up with recurring product-safety scandals, particularly in the drug sector.

The company was handed a fine and asset seizure totalling US$1.3 billion, the China National Drug Administration (CNDA) Jilin Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.

The amount includes the forfeiture of 1.89 billion yuan(S$375.9 million) in revenue from the sale of the vaccine.

AFP