A mother gets her child vaccinated at a community health center in Tianjin's Hongqiao district in April. (Photo/Xinhua)
Heavy fines will be imposed on firms that violate laws, cause serious harm
The State Administration for Market Regulation vowed to toughen supervision over the healthcare sector.
Severe punishment will be meted out and heavy fines imposed on enterprises that violate laws or cause serious harm, Zhang Mao, head of the administration, said on Thursday.
According to the administration, more stringent oversight will be carried out, especially over vaccines, but also over medical products as well as food and drug safety.
Zhang said "the strictest vaccine management and supervision" will be implemented. The call follows a major scandal exposed this summer involving Changsheng Bio-technology Co in Changchun, Jilin province.
The vaccine maker was found to have fabricated production records and produced substandard products.
The administration released a draft vaccine management law in November which imposes the strictest regulatory monitoring to ensure vaccine safety and quality throughout the entire production chain.
In terms of food safety, problems of the excessive use of pesticides, illegal additives and false advertising will be targeted, and authorities will take action to promote the quality of dairy, meat and healthcare products, as well as foods sold on campuses, online and in rural markets, Zhang said.
A new round of safety measures targeting the baby formula industry is also to begin soon, he added.
Baby formula has always been an inspection priority and a major concern of Chinese parents, particularly since 2008, when melamine-tainted milk killed at least six infants and sickened thousands more. Over the years, the government has increasingly tightened measures to regulate the industry.
The new regulations, which take effect in January, ban manufacturers not certified by authorities from selling their goods.
Earlier this week, a healthcare-related online platform accused Quanjian Natural Medicine Science &Technology Development Co, a major drugmaker in Tianjin, of misleading consumers about the efficacy of its products.
Quanjian has denied the allegations.
The administration will conduct more nationwide on-site inspections to uncover any safety concerns with vaccines, injections, implantable medical devices and cosmetics, Zhang said.
It will also launch special campaigns against online sales of counterfeit drugs or Chinese herbal medicines offered by unlicensed operators, he added.
The administration will target e-commerce platforms to crack down on patent infringements, counterfeits, price gouging and false advertising, Zhang said.
Whistleblowers are encouraged to step forward and will be greatly rewarded. A risk-sharing mechanism is needed in areas involving public safety and heavy risks, he added.
"We will tighten supervision over key areas to ensure safe consumption," Zhang said.