China is intensifying its investigation into rampant bribery in the pharmaceutical and medical services sector with a fresh three-month probe slated to begin last Thursday, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
The investigation by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), a regulator in charge of market supervision, is aimed at stamping out bribery, fraud and other anti-competitive practices in various sectors.
The SAIC will hand down severe punishment for bribery found in the bidding process for drugs and medical services as that hurt the interests of the Chinese people, the Xinhua news agency said.
The investigations underline China's toughening stance on corruption and high prices in the pharmaceutical industry, as the government seeks to make healthcare access universal and faces an estimated $1 trillion healthcare bill by 2020.
The latest foreign drugmaker in the spotlight is Switzerland's Novartis AG, after a Chinese newspaper reported that it bribed doctors to boost sales in June and July of this year. Read more