Speaking earlier this month Chan said the China Food and Drug Administration’s (CFDA) regulation of vaccine development and production had got better since the organisation passed an initial assessment in March 2011.
“The improvements made since the previous assessment are most encouraging. CFDA is well on its way towards meeting the highest international standards for a regulatory authority” said Chan.
She added that: “Effective regulatory oversight of vaccines is especially important, as vaccines are used on a population-wide basis, and are usually given to healthy infants. High quality must be assured.”
According to the WHO, China has the largest vaccine manufacturing capacity of any country meaning that the rules governing production there are vital to ensuring the safety of people all over the world.
The positive review also bodes well for the development of new vaccines according to Chan, who cited the WHO’s prequalification of a China-made Japanese encephalitis vaccine last year as an indication of the country’s role as a future supply hub.
“The Chinese vaccine was not only less expensive than vaccines already on the market. It was a better product. It is easier to administer, being effective after a single dose, and it can be safely given to infants, vastly simplifying the logistics of vaccine delivery and cutting costs even further.”
“The door is now open for CFDA to prequalify, with WHO support, many more vaccines made in China."
The WHO also praised China’s disease monitoring and control efforts, contrasting the country’s efforts to limit the spread of avian influenza with the current outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa.
“Ebola virus disease continues to spread in West African countries, but China has kept cases of H7N9 largely confined within its borders. This is another example of highly responsible behaviour on the international stage.
“As this most recent CFDA assessment demonstrates, China is on its way towards establishing a world-class regulatory authority that can serve as a model for other countries.”
Late yesterday Wu Zhen, vice minister of the CFDA, met with the delegation led by Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Alliance, to discuss the safety and quality supervision of vaccines, the research and development of new vaccines, as well as the international procurement market access of Chinese vaccines.