Long jail sentences for illegal vaccine sellers in China

Two parent-child sellers of illegal vaccines in China have been given a total of 25 years in prison, according to local news reports.

The Xinhua news agency, as quoted by Reuters, said that the mother-daughter pair were found guilty on January 24 for illegally buying up and then selling on a series of vaccines for rabies, meningitis and other areas. The drugs were said to be real, but obtained without the proper licences.

Pang Hongwei, who made around $11m from the illegal sales, was given two sentences adding up to 19 years' incarceration in total, as well as having all of her property confiscated.

Her daughter, Sun Qi, was hit with six years in prison for helping her mother and will have more than 7.4m yuan (around $1.1m) of her property confiscated, the court ruled.

The mother is said to have stored these vaccines (improperly, according to reports) in warehouses in Jinan and one other city, before then going on a selling spree with the meds across China. This was believed to have started back in 2011, and has been something of an embarrassment to medicines regulators in the country.

Last year, it was reported that the pair and their associates supplied substandard and unregistered products to 18 provinces across China. I has been claimed that they had distributed vaccines, immune globulin products and a biologic drug in quantities that would have approached $88m in value if sold at manufacturers' prices.

And this isn’t the first offence for Pang, and also goes some way to explain her extended sentences, as in 2009 she was handed a three-year prison sentence, with a five-year probationary period, for illegally trading vaccines in Heze, a city in Shandong.

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