Hospital chiefs suspended over HPV vaccine scandal
Published: Apr 29, 2019 09:01 PM

A woman has an HPV injection at a hospital in Kunming, Southwest China's Yunnan Province in November 2017. Photo: VCG

Managers at a hospital in South China's Hainan Province have been suspended after the hospital came under fire for offering illegal vaccinations of HPV, which may also be fake. 

Boao Yinfeng Healthcare International Hospital, a private hospital in Boao, Hainan Province was not certified to provide HPV vaccinations, which protect against certain forms of cancer. In addition, the vaccine is alleged to have been sourced from suspicious channels, which mean that the vaccine itself could be fake, according to a notice released by four Hainan authorities, including the Health Commission of Hainan and the provincial market and drug supervision bureaus. 

If the allegations are confirmed, authorities will impose highest possible fine on the hospital. 

At least 38 people have allegedly been given the fake shots at the hospital since January 2018, Hainan Health Commission said Sunday.

Media reports said that these patients were charged 9,000 yuan ($1,388) each time. 

The provincial health regulator on April 18 slapped the hospital with administrative penalties including a warning, confiscation of illegal gains, as well as a fine of 8,000 yuan. The hospitals' business license was revoked after the investigation.

The HPV vaccine prevents certain types of cancer, including cervical cancer.  

Victims reached by news portal said that they all went to the hospital after friends recommended it. 

Some victims said that they did not go to a government hospital because of the long wait times and limited availability of the vaccine. 

The Hainan case is the latest in a series of vaccine scandals in recent years, including children being given fake, faulty or expired vaccines. In February, a nurse reportedly gave 29 children the wrong vaccine in Shijiazhuang, North China's Hebei Province, out of personal gain. 

"The reason for the frequent vaccine scandals in China is because these criminals can earn a lot of money without severe punishment, and the supervision of domestic procurement mechanisms also has loopholes," Wang Bo, a vice head of the Chinese Hospital Association, told the Global Times on Monday.