Chinese authorities seize more than $3.28 million in counterfeit drugs and vaccines. Counterfeit rabies vaccine was sold to hospitals in Shandong province since 2009.

China Daily reports the arrest of 17 drug counterfeiters who specialized in counterfeits of blood products as well as counterfeit rabies vaccine. Authorities discovered that two suspects identified as Liu and Zhou of Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, had been buying empty drug bottles and packaging materials to disguise their counterfeit drugs since 2012, reports the China Daily.

After cleaning the bottles, and filling them with dyed, distilled water, the suspects allegedly sold their counterfeit human serum albumin and immune globulin using the brand name of an unidentified pharmaceuticals company based in Shanghai, reports the China Daily.

The counterfeit rabies vaccine was discovered in a separate raid in Henan Province, where unnamed counterfeiters had been producing fake rabies vaccine since 2009, reports Xinhua News Service. Hospitals in Shendong purchased an estimated 11,000 doses of the fake vaccines, according to China Daily.

The World Health Organization reports that more than 55,000 people die of rabies every year, mostly in Asia and Africa. The majority of people bitten by suspect animals are children under 15. The rabies vaccine is given to more than 15,000,000 people worldwide every year to prevent the deadly and very painful disease that is nearly always fatal after the symptoms develop.

Xinhua also reports that the original counterfeit blood products were discovered in 2012 when a patient in Guangxi exhibited adverse symptoms after being treated with human serum albumin.

“Mao Zhenbin, director of the China Food and Drug Administration’s Inspection Bureau, said at a news conference on Oct 16 that many fake medicines are sold on the Internet, making it difficult for authorities to oversee them,” reports China Daily.

In July 2013, The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy warned that fake online pharmacies represented 97% of all internet pharmacies. Patients concerned with purchasing safe, effective medication and avoiding fake pharmacies should buy from VIPPS pharmacies and learn more about buying safely online with this resource:

By S. Imber