The recent corruption scandals swirling around the pharmaceutical industry
have led to speculation that more people are involved and the national
food-and-drug watchdog might have its wings clipped.
All State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) officials, incumbent and
retired, have been asked to prove their innocence, reported China Business
Those who abused power for personal gain were asked to hand in
illicitly-obtained money or assets by last Friday or face harsher punishment, an
SFDA insider told the newspaper.
has been under a cloud ever since a series of corrupt officials were uncovered
last year. It culminated with December's announcement that Zheng Xiaoyu, former
chief of the SFDA, was under investigation by the Central Commission for
Discipline Inspection, the Party's anti-graft watchdog.
Zheng has been accused of taking huge bribes and abusing his power to grant
favors to his relatives during his 8-year-rein in the SFDA since 1998.
Earlier, several of his former subordinates, including two of his
secretaries, were netted for bribe taking.
A series of anti-graft warnings and correctional efforts presided over by new
SFDA chief Shao Mingli suggest an overhaul is imminent.
The scandal has also toppled some entrepreneurs reportedly implicated with
the Zheng case, with the latest being Tang Xudong, president of Hangzhou-based
Kangliyuan Group. The pharmaceutical company has been ordered to suspend
Meanwhile, "the State Council is considering taking away the power to
supervise food and health care products from the SFDA and establishing an
exclusive committee under the State Council in charge of food safety," the
insider was quoted as saying.
The right to approve new drugs might also be taken from the SFDA and given to
another committee under the State Council, he said.
"The SFDA's power will then be greatly reduced and there will be no need for
its existence as a vice-ministerial level department," he said. "It might be
merged with another ministry."
In 2002, China adopted a national standard under which
medicines have to be approved by the SFDA before sale. The change, which granted
great power to the SFDA, bred rampant corruption to secure drug approvals.