After the mislabeling of MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccinations, produced by US based Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), was discovered, the Drug Administrator of Vietnam wrote to the producer to correct the fault. However, the drug maker ran foul of Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health (DOH) by contradicting the DoH’s instructions.
Kha My Linh, head of MSD Vietnam, concluded that “Investigations carried out by the company showed that there are very few of risks when injecting vaccines into muscle,” and called for understanding from medical clinics over its mistake and continue to use the vaccine by injecting beneath the skin.
Following the announcement from MSD, DoH’S deputy director, Pham Khanh Phong Lan, on March 17 convened an urgent meeting with MSD’s representative.
Alycia Draper, representative for Merck Sharp & Dohme in Asia, maintained that mislabeling of the vaccine is not serious.
Dr. Lan considered the response unacceptable as the rate of complications after vaccinations may rise.
At the Tuesday meeting, Ms Draper refused to cooperate with DoH when the authority wanted to know the quantity of vaccines imported into Vietnam, how much has been distributed to the city and how the mislabeling has effected patients’ health.
Ms Draper said she could not answer the questions as the media were present, saying that she must be prudent when providing information to the media and where company policies do not allow to answer.
She left in the middle of the meeting and refused to sign the official minutes.
According to the MoH, vaccine importers must follow procedure, where the Scientific Council reviews applications for three months before approval by the Health Minister for approval.
MSD should have followed such procedure, with questions being asked how such mislabeled vaccines could appear on the market.
It is reported that more than 40,000 doses of the mislabeled vaccine have been distributed to clinics throughout the country.
MSD made the Drug Administrator of Vietnam aware of the mislabeling one month after they discovered their mistake.
The problem was further compounded by the slow response from the Administrator’s staff.
Slow reactions by relevant medical authorities and the non-cooperative nature of MSD point to a disregard for human health from both sides.
MMR vaccines mislabeled
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