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People's Daily Online>>Foreign Affairs

Chinese vaccines struggling to go global

(Xinhua)

13:48, February 29, 2012

BEIJING, Feb. 29 (Xinhua) -- One year on from the World Health Organization (WHO) freeing Chinese vaccine producers to apply for rights to distribute their products globally, none have qualified to do so, Health News, the newspaper affiliated to China's health ministry, reported on Wednesday.

The paper argued we are still some way off seeing Chinese vaccines going global.

On March. 1, 2011, China's national regulatory authorities, represented by the State Food and Drug Administration, in the area of vaccines were accredited by the WHO as "functional," after failing three previous tests in 1999, 2001 and 2005.

The recognition enabled Chinese manufacturers to apply to have their vaccines "pre-qualified" by the WHO, an accreditation which would mean the products could be supplied through United Nations agencies to developing countries.

However, at present, only the Henan-based Hualan Biological Bacterin Co. Ltd, and the Chengdu subsidiary of China National Biotec Group have submitted applications for this "WHO license" -- for their seasonal flu vaccine and Japanese encephalitis vaccine respectively. They have not yet won approval.

China has 36 of the world's 85 vaccine producers. But without WHO approval, the only route for Chinese vaccines to be distributed globally is if they are donated, or if foreign countries are approached one by one.

In contrast, global vaccine giants such as GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur have obtained the "international passport," taking up 80 percent of the world market, Health News reported.

Even in the domestic market, the lion's share of the non-free vaccine market is held by foreign producers.

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