China's State Food and Drug Administration has launched a crackdown campaign after fake anti-rabies vaccines caused human deaths in the country.
An urgent circular issued by the administration and the Ministry of Health last week ordered local drug watchdogs and health departments to enhance supervision over the manufacture, sale and use of anti-rabies vaccines for humans.
"There have been some media reports on human deaths caused by fake anti-rabies vaccines recently, which pose severe threat to people's life and social stability," the circular said without elaborating.
The circular asked local departments to launch a thorough investigation into vaccine manufacturers and suppliers, destroying the faulty vaccines and punishing guilty parties.
The demand for anti-rabies vaccines has skyrocketed in recent months following a government campaign which has emphasized the threat of rabies and imposed strict regulations on dog ownership. With the increased demand has come the development of fake vaccines.
Victims rarely survive once the disease has developed but if they receive an anti-rabies jab quickly, the likelihood of developing the disease would drop to 10 percent, according to official figures.
The crackdown campaign will last until the end of June next year, according to the circular.
(Xinhua News Agency December 15, 2006)