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China to Crackdown on Bribery in Health Sector
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China will crackdown on business-related bribery in the health sector to ease the public's concerns over expensive and difficult access to medical services, said Minister of Health Gao Qiang on Tuesday.

Business-related bribery makes it harder to deal with the current public medical service problem and worsens the tense relationship between patients and doctors, Gao said at a tele-conference.

In China, some companies and individuals gave commissions to health officials and workers selling substandard drugs and medical equipment to hospitals, resulting in many medical accidents.

Some doctors used expensive drugs in treatment to gain profits,which negatively affected patients' health and stretched their financial capabilities to the limit, causing public complaints and hatred of hospitals.

"Business-related bribery has severely affected the reputation and public confidence over the nation's health service and triggered corruption and crime, and it must be stopped," said Gao.

Internal investigations should be carried out within the healthsystem first, said Gao, referring to illegal deals in trading of drugs and medical equipment.

"And serious bribery involving large sums of money must be reported and investigated without delay," he noted. Cases of bribery, corruption and power abuse by health officials will be turned over to judiciary departments as soon as they are detected.

The health system must also enhance the education of health workers to stay away from illegal drug deals and set up teams to guide and supervise the crackdown, said Gao.

(Xinhua News Agency March 29, 2006)

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