Wuhan coronavirus, and the vaccines

A scary virus is going around Wuhan, and truth and rumors are flying as well…

I know a vaccine is far away to treat the current outbreak but the recent case of that Shanghai clinic’s owner Dr. George Kuo over Prevenar 7 came to mind.

The case went like this: because Chinese government requires each imported vaccine needs to be renewed every five years and they can deny the renewal without a reason, so they did to Prevenar 7 in 2015. It would take Pfizer 18 months to get their Prevenar 13 approved in China. So, during this period, Dr. Kuo whose clinic caters to the foreign community and upper crest locals, found a supplier in Singapore and imported 13,000 doses of varied vaccines himself, and got caught. He was tried in a Shanghai court, and convicted of selling “fake drugs”. His sentencing was seven years in jail, according to the law.

Before going on further, here is a little reality in the vaccine: 90% vaccine market in the world is dominated by four big pharmas: two in US, one each in France and UK. And they basically are doing a decent job and most other countries take them without a fuss. I remembered taking my infants to their pediatrician for checkups and ended up always getting some sort of injections even I didn’t ask for any of them. (A bad mom who didn’t do her homework.) And the doctor always dutifully wrote down on a chart. (This would prove to be very useful since many places require it: schools and camps, just to name a few.)

Guess I was just a lucky go happy kind of person, and totally dictated by the pediatrician. When the FDA approved it and my kids would receive it.

Chinese has their own fda: cfda. CFDA checks every imported vaccine and the time they spent checking, could be as long as ten years. I didn’t make this up: Jack Ma’s South China Morning Post revealed that, for example, the clinical trial of China to approve (HPV, 2006) vaccine took a decade. During these time, Chinese who has means went to Hong Kong to get it.

Sanofi makes good rabies vaccine but due to the difficulties they encountered in China, they withdrew from China gradually since 2010. And the fake vaccine from Changsheng Bio-tech 长盛生物技术公司 appeared on our horizon in 2018.

How to balance the protection of your local market vs healthy competition is a thin line.

Shortly before the new year 2020, Dr. Kuo’s fate has a reversal: his 7 years reduced to two years because they updated 未经批准进口的药按假药论处 the unauthorized imports of drugs are treated as counterfeit drugs. Kuo’s fine was ¥50,000 from ¥2,000,000.

疫苗 … 想起上海美籍华人郭桥 Prevenar 7, George Kuo — 上海疫苗版“药神”案: “销售假药罪”改判“走私罪”, 刑期大幅缩短 — 是朋友经手的案子. 国内的作风非常难理解. 说不更新就不更新… 也不替孩子们着想 … 所以郭才私下进口.

四大药厂 (2美国 1法国1英国) 生产全球 90%的疫苗. 但是中国会用10年的时间去衡量 (临床)一个进口的疫苗 (HPV) 下一代的疫苗都上市了!!! 我就奇怪 难道美国 欧盟的FDA 还需要中国再去验证吗?匪夷所思. 结果就是, 比如 Sanofi 的rabies 狂犬病疫苗很好 但是由于国内的政策 Sanofi 从2010年 开始慢慢离开了中国. 接下来就是我们看到的长盛假疫苗. 没有竞争 消费者吃亏.

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