Police in east China’s Shandong Province arrested 37 individuals on Tuesday who are suspected of participation in a national medical drug ring. A mother/daughter duo are suspected [Xinhua Report] of buying and selling more than USD $88 million worth of vaccines since 2011. Three pharmaceutical companies have been implicated in the scandal and national Chinese authorities have authorized sweeping investigations into vaccine manufactures, whole-sellers, and buyers. The vaccines that were sold through this ring, though manufactured by approved methods, are suspected to have become corrupt due to improper storage and handling. The arrest had led to some public outrage over the time it took for authorities to act, as it is suspected the ring was discovered as early as April 2015.
China previously faced criticism over a tainted milk scandal. In 2008, melamine-tainted milk from China [JURIST news archive] was blamed for the deaths of six infants, and the Chinese government promised that all tainted product would be seized and destroyed. Chinese courts began hearing [JURIST report] tainted milk suits in 2009, after families began filing individual claims. Also in 2009, a Chinese court declared Sanlu Group, the Chinese company that produced the melamine-tainted milk, bankrupt [JURIST report].