China / Society

Medical NPO asked overhaul for huge earnings

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-11-07 19:42

BEIJING - The national health regulator has required the Chinese Medical Association (CMA), a non-profit organization which states its mission mainly for academic programs and public interest, to overhaul commercial activities for huge earnings.

A National Audit Office report in June said the CMA organized 160 specialized conferences within one year, with 820 million yuan ($133.1 million) in commercial earnings.

The National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) asked the NPO, comprised of medical professionals, to examine problems with investment attraction in organizing academic conventions and suspend investment attraction activities.

Other measures include strengthening conference management, banning the practice of facilitating contacts between the delegates, mostly doctors, and pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies and enhancing financial regulations, an NHFPC spokesperson said.

It is widely known that pharmaceutical companies sponsor medical conferences in exchange for advertising booths, to contact with doctors and to obtain information offered by conference organizers, such as the CMA.

In a case of the China branch of British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the firm bribed doctors in order to boost sales of its medical products, and was fined 3 billion yuan by a Chinese court in September.

Such illegal dealings between doctors and drug makers are to blame for exorbitant drug prices, which has been targeted by China's ongoing medical reform for years.

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