Healthcare corruption crackdown in China gains renewed push

A civil servant once in the running for head of one of China's provincial FDA agencies apparently has been taking millions of dollars in bribes for the past 10 years as a hospital executive. The revelation came as part of a two-month-old crackdown on healthcare corruption.

While president of the No. 1 People's Hospital in Yunnan up to last month when he was sacked, Wang Tianchao allegedly amassed $5.6 million in cash, 100 houses and other properties that could not help but make him a target for investigation.

The state-run newspaper, China Daily, mentioned Tianchao's excesses in an update on a three-year investigation of 41 hospitals begun in February by the National Health and Family Planning Commission looking into corruption at the institutions. Twelve are slated for weeklong investigations this year.

The probes are to look into bribery involving hospital-purchased pharmaceuticals, medical devices and other products and services acquired by the hospitals. They already were under orders to establish a system to encourage whistleblowers to come forward with information.

The medicines the hospitals buy are at the center of the investigations since previous investigations uncovered industry kickbacks to prescribing physicians or those in charge of procurement.

The state-run news service, Xinhua, reported earlier that 16 hospital heads had been arrested on corruption charges in just one province last year, most involving kickbacks from drugmakers and other medicine handlers.

- here's the story from China Daily