Former drug chief sentenced to death

Updated: 2007-05-30 15:30

Zheng, born in December 1944, joined the Communist Party of China in November 1979. He majored in biology at Fudan University in Shanghai.

He was the head of the State Pharmaceutical Administration from 1994 to 1998, and head of the State Drug Administration from 1998 to 2003. He was appointed director of the SFDA in May 2003 after it was formed.

Zheng retired in 2005. He first came under investigation by the Communist Party of China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in December 2006 and was expelled from the Party in March 2007.

Earlier reports said that Zheng's subordinates had provided evidence against their former boss.

Hao Heping, former director of SFDA's Department of Medical Devices and one of Zheng's former secretaries, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for bribery in November last year.

Cao Wenzhuang, former director of SFDA's Department of Drug Registration and also another former secretary of Zheng, has been under investigation since January of last year.

An official from the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said: "Zheng's case highlights weaknesses and loopholes in the legal system, the abuse of administrative power, a lack of supervision, and weak anti-corruption attitudes among officials."

Leaders of key departments should rotate positions at fixed intervals to avoid corruption, the official added.

Shao Daosheng, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China's pharmaceutical industry has become a focus of public dissatisfaction for producing fake and substandard medicines and widely using bribery to sell their drugs to hospitals.

"Commercial bribery is widespread in the pharmaceutical industry, as indecent manufacturers buy licenses from corrupt regulators," Shao said.


(For more biz stories, please visit Industry Updates)