A batch of rabies vaccines, imported from the Chinese company Changchun Changsheng Biotech Co, was recalled by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), Dr S Eswara Reddy on Wednesday.
It was reported that several staff members of the company, including the company’s chairwoman Gao Junfang, are accused of doctoring vaccine production and inspection records.
Following the outbreak of the scandal, Dr Reddy issued a recall of the vaccines from the company.
“We have stopped the import of the rabies vaccines for the time being. An investigation is going on and till then the import is prohibited," Reddy reportedly said.
“Whatever vaccines were already imported they are being recalled. As per the law, the import license holder should have informed us if there was a problem with the overseas supplier but he did not inform us," he added.
A showcause notice has also been issued to the Indian importer of the vaccines for not having informed the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization that the Chinese company had stopped production of vaccines over the controversy.
In addition to the rabies vaccine, earlier batches of the diphtheria vaccine in China also came under scrutiny for similar reasons.
Import of the rabies vaccine into India has temporarily been halted in view of the allegations against the company. The National Rabies Control Programme has estimated that around 20,000 people die each year as a result of rabies in India alone.
Rabies is a virus which is transmitted through the bite or scratch of an infected animal. Worldwide, most people are infected through dog bites.
People who have been injured by any animal suspected to have rabies should get immediate medical attention and take appropriate measures, including having the rabies vaccine administered.
The vaccine is administered in 5 doses, on ‘zero’ day (the day of the exposure), third, seventh, fourteenth and twenty-eighth day.
Doctors also recommend that pets be vaccinated against rabies as a routine measure.