A vaccine scandal in China, which has prompted angry reactions from citizens fed up with safety scares, is sending ripples across the local drug market and threatening Chinese ambitions to play a larger role in the global pharmaceutical space.
Shares in Chinese vaccine makers and biotech firms fell across the board on Monday after Premier Li Keqiang slammed Changsheng Biotechnology Co for having crossed a moral red line and called for swift action.
Changsheng has been found to have faked production documents related to a rabies vaccine that is given to babies as young as three months, underscoring the difficulties China faces in cleaning up the image of the world's second-biggest drug industry as it aims to promote its vaccines globally.
While there have been no known reports of people being harmed by the vaccine, the regulator ordered Changsheng to halt production and recall the product after the scandal emerged earlier this month.
The case has gone viral in China, where sensitivity over food and drug safety is extremely high after a slew of scandals over the last decade.