China Freezes Stock of Top Executive Arrested in Vaccine Scandal

(Bloomberg) -- China stepped up its crackdown of the pharmaceutical company at the center of a vaccine scandal, freezing shares of the drugmaker’s chairwoman following her arrest.

Changsheng Bio-technology Co. said in a statement on Thursday that the public security bureau of Changchun, the city where the embattled company is based, has frozen the 18.1 percent stake held by Chairwoman Gao Junfang. She is the company’s largest shareholder. A 0.68 percent stake held by another shareholder, Zhang Yongkui, has also been frozen. The order is in place for one year.

Gao and Zhang are among 18 Changsheng employees who have been arrested after a State Council investigation found last month that the company violated vaccine standards since as far back as 2014, using expired materials and marking false production dates.

The revelations that Changsheng and another drugmaker sold low-quality vaccines for infants has created a wave of outrage among Chinese consumers, with protesters picketing government offices and worried parents traveling to Hong Kong for foreign-made vaccines. President Xi Jinping described the situation as “shocking” and China’s top governing body has vowed to punish those involved.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.