Premier Li Keqiang demanded thorough probe and severe punishment for those involved in production of fake rabies vaccine during the State Council’s executive meeting on Monday.
Police in Changchun, Jilin province, asked prosecutors on Sunday to approve the formal arrests of 18 people from Changchun Changsheng Biotech Co accused of faking production and inspection records for a substandard rabies vaccine.
The 18 include the chairwoman of the vaccine maker, surnamed Gao, and others who were detained on suspicion of involvement in producing and selling drugs of inferior quality.
In a statement released on Sunday evening, the Changchun police said investigators had discovered violations of the law in the company"s production of the rabies vaccine.
An inspection by the State Drug Administration on July 15 found the company falsified production and inspection records to cover up illegal practices.
Although the administration said all of the company"s rabies vaccines had been recalled, and no quality problems were found in vaccines that had already entered the market, the incident aroused public outrage because of the virtual 100 percent mortality rate of rabies.
In addition, police found 60 computer hard disks that the company had intended to destroy, according to an investigation team sent by the State Council.
The company mixed several batches of vaccine fluid to reduce costs, Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday, citing the team. Some of the fluid was past its shelf life.
The company was found to have fabricated the liquid"s expiration date and conducted an experiment on mice with unprocessed liquid－a procedure that should only be done using the final product.