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China arrests former Shanghai health deputy

Source: Reuters - Thu, 19 Dec 2013 10:06 AM
Author: Reuters
In this 2011 file photo, a view of the financial district of Pudong on a rainy day in Shanghai is shown REUTERS/Carlos Barria
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SHANGHAI, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Authorities in the city of Shanghai have arrested the former deputy health commission chief, prosecutors said, at a time when China's health sector has come under the spotlight for widespread corruption.

Huang Fengping, formerly second in command of the city's Commission of Health and Family Planning, was arrested on Wednesday for "suspected crimes", the city's prosecution service said in a statement on its website.

It gave no more details.

The arrest comes as China steps up its scrutiny into corruption in the medical sector, with attention especially on graft in the pharmaceutical and infant milk formula markets.

The Shanghai Health and Family Planning Commission and the Shanghai Municipal People's Prosecution Service were not immediately available for comment.

Huang worked at Shanghai's Huashan Hospital for more than a decade before taking the vice director role in May last year, the official Shanghai Daily said in a report.

China's regulators have been investigating numerous foreign and domestic drug companies, with inquiries ranging from suspected corruption to how drugs are priced.

The most high-profile investigation involves British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline.

Chinese police launched as investigation into accusations in July that GSK funnelled up to 3 billion yuan ($492 million) to travel agencies to facilitate bribes to doctors and officials to boost its drug sales.

GSK said on Wednesday it would stop paying doctors for promoting its drugs and scrap prescription targets for its marketing staff worldwide.

However, the company said the measures were not directly related to its Chinese problems and were rather part of a broad effort to improve transparency

(Reporting by Adam Jourdan; additional reporting by SHANGHAI newsroom; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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