The Systemic and Multifaceted Problem of Counterfeit Vaccines

Counterfeit vaccines have emerged as a significant and serious threat all over the world. While crucial steps have been taken to both reduce their occurrence as well as the irreversible damage to health and infrastructure that they can cause, by most metrics the problem has grown devastatingly. As an important anti-counterfeiting measure, China has introduced new iterations of vaccine management legislation that impose heftier fines on companies or other parties that make, sell, or are otherwise involved in the distribution of counterfeit vaccines. Such a serious measure is a grave illustration of both the tremendous threat these fraudulent medicines present but also of their treacherous nature.

New Legislation to control the spread

China’s new legislation is meant to prevent counterfeiting in an environment where fraudulent vaccines have rocked the country’s confidence in the pharmaceutical market. For a population that depends on vaccines for both their everyday welfare as well as to ward against more serious diseases, ineffective vaccines can cause major problems, for example, those who believe that they are immune to a disease could unknowingly become carriers and even boost its spread.

Due diligence still needed

While this new legislation is an important step forward that provides crucial new avenues against counterfeiting, it is also indicative of the scope of the issue. The legislation attacks the problem on many fronts, the most immediate of which are the larger penalties. It also puts more intense pressure on relevant parties to perform their due diligence when it comes to making sure they are not contributing to the spread of fraudulent medicine; a failure to do so can open up companies to larger legal responsibilities. The intricacies of the legislation reveal that this is a complex, multi-faceted, and largely systemic problem, one that will require several sophisticated avenues of approach to ensure the overall innovation of this indispensable industry — not to mention the health and welfare of society — are properly and sufficiently protected.

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