China will improve its long-term regulatory mechanism for vaccines and implement the toughest possible oversight on related products, Jiao Hong, head of the National Medical Products Administration, said on Monday.
She said domestically made vaccines were safe overall, affirming comments made by the head of China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention on March 4, who urged the public not to lose trust in the country's vaccine sector.
Recent vaccine failures, including the faulty rabies vaccines made by Changchun Changsheng Bio Tech Co in Jilin province, and expired anti-polio doses distributed in Jiangsu province, had exposed irregularities within the sector and prompted stronger supervision,
Jiao said a new draft law on vaccine management, to tighten the supervision and management of production, research, and distribution of these products, had been reviewed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, and released to solicit public opinion.
The draft law proposes severe punishment for those who participated in illegal practices and investigations into inspectors who fail their responsibilities.
Authorities are also mulling changes to be made to the country's Pharmaceutical Administration Law and discussing supporting measures, in an effort to facilitate law enforcement in the future, Jiao told reporters during a news conference on the sidelines of the ongoing two sessions.
Jiao added that vaccine manufactures should establish a complete product management and tracing system, and report safety issues to authorities.
Central and local inspectors will step up both spot checks and routine on-site inspections, as part of measures to toughen oversight over vaccine makers.
"Better training will be provided to inspectors to enhance their ability to identify issues. The ultimate goal is to ensure the safety of vaccines and safeguard public health," she said.