China government to probe 60 firms over drug prices

China's top economic planner is to investigate 60 pharmaceutical companies for excessive charges, including several joint ventures with foreign firms, state media reported Thursday.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), which is already investigating foreign baby formula producers over , will send teams to check wholesale prices and production costs of dozens of companies, the Securities Daily said.

In a statement the NDRC said firms targeted in the investigation include Sino-foreign joint ventures with Britain's GlaxoSmithKline, Germany's Boehringer-Ingelheim and global healthcare firm MSD.

The inquiry will also look at several Chinese companies, among them industry leader Sinopharm Group and Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine, which specialises in anti-tumour drugs.

Chinese police are already investigating senior staff of GlaxoSmithKline in China for suspected "economic crimes" but it was unclear whether there was any connection between the two probes.

The NDRC, which helps regulate prices in China, said the four-month survey aimed to "timely set and adjust drug prices".

Analysts said providing healthcare at affordable prices was a political platform of China's ruling Communist Party.

"There always has been a lot of pressure to make sure that common drugs are available at very cheap prices relative to what they would be sold for in a lot of Western markets," said Ben Cavender of the China Market Research Group consultancy.

It is also common practice for Chinese pharmaceutical firms to offer doctors and hospitals bribes to have their products used, industry officials say.

State media reported Tuesday that the NDRC had launched a probe of foreign baby formula makers for high prices resulting from a monopoly-like situation.

The government agency declined to confirm the reports but companies targeted said they were cooperating.

A unit of Swiss-based Nestle, Wyeth Nutrition, responded by slashing its prices in China by as much as 20 percent, while France's Danone said it planned to cut prices as well.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China broadband to get faster, cheaper

Dec 02, 2011

Two government-owned Chinese telecom firms said Friday they would raise the speed of their broadband services while lowering their costs over the next five years, state-run media reported.

China probes telecom giants for internet monopoly

Nov 09, 2011

A Chinese government agency is investigating two telecommunications giants for allegedly monopolising Internet broadband services, state media said Wednesday, in an unusual public spat.

China vows faster, cheaper Internet

Apr 02, 2012

China has said it will aim to bring faster and cheaper Internet access to more people, following complaints that a near monopoly by state-backed firms had hurt service.

China takes over as US solar power firms fail

Sep 18, 2011

China's solar power firms are emerging as the industry's dominant force after the collapse of foreign competitors, but the new market leaders are already struggling with low prices and overcapacity.

Recommended for you

Merck completes sale of consumer unit to Bayer

11 hours ago

Drugmaker Merck said Wednesday that it completed the sale of its consumer care business, which makes products including Claritin allergy medication and Coppertone sun-care line, to German health care company Bayer for $14.2 ...

Viagra ads target women for first time

Sep 30, 2014

The maker of the world's top-selling erectile dysfunction drug on Tuesday will begin airing the first Viagra TV commercial in America that targets the less-obvious sufferers of the sexual condition: women.

User comments