China corruption watchdog eyes CFDA, health ministry

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Bribery remains a pressing issue for drug purchases through China's health ministry and regulatory enforcement by the China FDA shows repeated loopholes, the country's anticorruption watchdog has said.

Reuters reported that the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), run by Chinese Communist Party leadership, posted the observations on its website--often a prelude to enforcement action.

The CCDI said inspections of the two bodies responsible for much of the nation's healthcare policies at state-run hospitals and for drug approvals found the bribery and regulatory lapses. Senior bureaucrats at both agencies have now vowed to tackle the problems.

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The notices came shortly after China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced an investigation into all aspects of drug and medical device sales and prices among domestic and foreign firms.

The regulatory loopholes likely reference a scandal earlier this year that saw a mother-and-daughter team in Shandong province act as wholesalers for vaccine sales without following proper storage and expiry monitoring protocols for a 5-year period.

The incident sparked outrage among parents and embarrassed top leadership who have vowed to crack down on adulterated and poor-quality food and drug products as part of a broader campaign against official corruption led by President Xi Jinping.

China has also taken recent steps to curb rising drug prices by eliminating a 15% markup at 200 state-run hospitals among other steps to centralize purchases now spread among institutions and provincial governments.

- here's the story from Reuters
- here's the CCDI website

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