China outlines drug complaint process to facilitate 'social cohabitation'

Officials in China are hoping to promote "social cohabitation management" through a recent decree issued by the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) that requires the country's food and drug officials at all official levels to "strengthen propaganda" when complaints are aired about food and drug problems. China's CFDA said officials, in dealing with complaints, should "accept supervision by the masses" in order to "achieve social cohabitation effect." CFDA officials also said they wanted to create "smooth channels" for complaints to be aired and said complaint management should be handled at the county level but that in cases where whistleblowers come forth those cases can be handled at the provincial level. When complaints are filed, officials said, they should be forwarded to the "relevant department" within three days, CFDA officials said, and should be sent to provincial officials within two days for "important" complaints with officials "putting forward their opinions." The new measures also call on the department that receives the complaint to "promptly investigate" and verify the claims and then report within 60 days on how the complaint will be handled. The measures also include setting up management information systems to track complaints, adding "all levels shall publicize complaint channels and complaint management regulations and complaint mechanisms should consciously accept social supervision … to prevent systemic risk." Release (Chinese language)