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China’s Anti-Corruption Drive Expands to Target Medical and Pharmaceutical Sectors

Fraud, Bribery & CorruptionChina's Anti-Corruption Drive Expands to Target Medical and Pharmaceutical Sectors

President Xi Jinping’s ongoing anti-corruption campaign is now focusing on China’s medical and pharmaceutical sectors. This campaign, a hallmark of Xi’s efforts since taking office in 2012, aims to address corruption within these sectors, particularly individuals who have used their positions to engage in kickbacks and other corrupt practices, according to China’s National Health Commission (NHC) as reported by the Global Times.

The campaign has targeted 176 hospital presidents and party secretaries in 2023, more than double the number from the previous year. High-ranking specialists, professors, and department heads from provincial and municipal hospitals are among those under scrutiny.

The NHC indicated that the campaign will cover the entire pharmaceutical industry’s chain, including production, distribution, sales, usage, reimbursement, as well as administrative departments, industry associations, medical institutions, pharmaceutical enterprises, and medical insurance funds.

Experts like Xu Yucai note that this current anti-corruption drive involves the participation of more governmental agencies compared to previous efforts, leading to arrests of influential figures in the medical and pharmaceutical fields.

Instances of corruption include embezzlement by hospital presidents and staff, affecting infrastructure development and equipment procurement. Kickbacks play a role in doctors’ decisions regarding treatment choices and prescriptions.

Chinese Communist Party authorities are responding to public sentiment by addressing corruption in the healthcare system, according to political commentator Wu Zuolai. However, he and others, like Hu Jia, a political dissident and analyst, argue that the underlying issue lies in the unequal medical treatment experienced by Communist Party members and regular citizens. Party cadres receive privileged healthcare, including free treatment and access to imported medicines, disproportionately utilizing medical resources. This dualistic system creates difficulties in healthcare for the general population.

By FCCT Editorial Team

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity.

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