On July 14, China's Ministry of Agriculture issued a notice requiring each agricultural officials at the national, provincial and local levels to strengthen supervision of vaccines for large animals, ensure their quality and effectiveness, and put a strong barrier in place against the spread of disease.
This seems to confirm the faulty vaccine problems described in yesterday's dimsums posting. The notice addressed the problems of sub-standard vaccines, poor storage facilities, and the black market in vaccines.
The order to "earnestly do a good job on supervising production, distribution, storage, and use of vaccines" included five parts:
1. Supervision of production and distribution of vaccines. Implement strict testing to make sure vaccines conform to standards and regulations, prohibit fake products and guard against advertising that contains exaggerated claims or is misleading to the user.
2. Strengthen management of the vaccine bidding procurement system, set up a complete vaccine supply record system, standardize transportation of vaccines and supervision of storage.
3. Give farmers guidance to make sure vaccines are used properly. Set up a vaccine management system to understand the animal and poultry health situation. Do a good job on disinfection and avoiding cross-contamination.
4. Regulate large scale farms’ use of vaccines. Farms must have veterinary technicians and good transport and storage facilities. They must set up truthful and complete vaccine use records. Farms cannot re-sell vaccines to others.
5. Increase vaccine sampling and supervision. Crack down on production and sale of fake or watered-down vaccines and illegal black market sale of vaccines.
The notice tries to cure the symptoms, but does not address the fundamental problem. When has a government entity ever done a good job of marketing a product?