(Yicai Global) April 29 -- Chinese authorities are investigating whether 38 people have received fake vaccines against human papillomavirus in southern China's Hainan province and a unit of US Merck & Co., the only importer of the drug, has signed up to assist in the investigation.
Merck Sharp & Dohme China will help the authorities to probe into the case, the Chinese unit of the New Jersey-headquartered firm said in a statement yesterday.
Boao Yinfeng Healthcare International Hospital, located in the Boao Lecheng International Medical Tourism Pilot Zone, is suspected to have given substandard HPV 9-valent vaccines to clients since last January, charging each CNY9,000 (USD1,338) for the service, according to a statement released by the Hainan Health Committee yesterday. The drug was approved by Chinese regulators last April.
HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections and can lead to cervical or other cancers. The related vaccine hit the US market in 2014. MSD China awarded a deal to Chongqing-based Zhifei Biological to provide sales, import and promotions services for the vaccine in China last May.
Boao Yinfeng Healthcare International Hospital does not have a permit to engage in vaccination business. Chinese authorities have revoked the private clinic's other medical licenses, confiscated illegal income and handed the institution a fine of CNY8,000.
A person who received such vaccination at the hospital suspected the drug was not only smuggled from abroad but also fake, the person posted on Twitter-like Sina Weibo in March.
MSD and its partners strictly comply with Chinese laws and regulations, maintain a responsible supply chain, and ensure high-quality vaccines for consumers, the firm said.
Editor: Emmi Laine