An investigation conducted by the Ombudsman has found the government’s mechanism for monitoring vaccines with excessive demand provided by private healthcare facilities inadequate.

Ombudsman Winnie Chiu released and announced the findings of the independent probe into the Government’s mechanism for monitoring vaccines provided by private healthcare facilities on Thursday.

The report found the inadequacies include a pharmaceutical product’s supply and demand in the market not being included in the risk assessment factors under the Department of Health’s market surveillance mechanism.

The report also pointed out that the department has no authority to conduct routine inspections at private healthcare facilities solely on the grounds of investigating counterfeit vaccines.

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It was also said that the education and publicity targeted at the main groups receiving the vaccination being insufficient and behind time.

The office said the department and the Customs had taken prompt action and implemented a number of strengthened monitoring measures in the wake of the incidents involving counterfeit nine-valent HPV vaccines provided by local medical centers.

However, the Ombudsman said neither the Food and Health Bureau nor the department took the initiative to explain in detail to the public the government’s strengthened monitoring measures introduced in response to those incidents.

The office has put forward four recommendations to authorities, including to keep a close watch on the effectiveness of the strengthened monitoring measures, and to include a pharmaceutical product’s supply and demand in the market as a risk assessment factor under the department’s market surveillance mechanism.

The office also suggested authorities to review the information dissemination mechanism regarding serious incidents involving pharmaceutical products and enhance the transparency of information about newly introduced vaccines.


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