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Anti-graft Measures Hit Drug Agency
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The food and drug watchdog announced new anti-corruption measures yesterday amid a slew of graft cases. They followed a number of regulations by the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) issued last month to discourage graft.

The measures prohibit officials from taking part in some banquets, recreation and tourism activities which may influence the fairness of their work and prohibit them from secretly holding shares in pharmaceutical companies in disguise.

The administration yesterday revealed two other regulations outlining what officials should avoid and what they should report.

The regulations came after a two-month long "self-examination" and "ethic redressing" campaign within the SFDA.

"These measures were enacted to plug the loopholes we found during food and drug supervisions," said Qu Shuhui, disciplinary inspection head of the SFDA.

A series of corruption scandals, as well as food and drug incidents, shocked the nation last year and led to the downfall of a long list of senior officials from the SFDA, including its former chief Zheng Xiaoyu.

Zheng and several of his former subordinates were put under investigation for corruption and power abuse.

In July, authorities fined a drug company, Qiqihar No 2 Pharmaceutical Co, and revoked its license after a drug to treat gastric disorders killed 11 people.

In October, the drug watchdog banned a company in the eastern province of Anhui from producing antibiotics injections and sacked its top managers after the drug was linked to at least 10 deaths.

One new rule prohibits relatives from working in the same department of the SFDA, a move meant to reduce nepotism.

Also, no relatives should be subordinates under the new regulation.

The regulations also demand the SFDA's human resources department keep a clear record of situations like matrimonial status and family relationships between staff.

SFDA staff members are required to report such relationships once they are hired.

The new regulations also specify six conditions that SFDA officials should avoid while doing their work.

In addition, at the end of each year, along with their annual performance evaluation, each leading Party official of the SFDA should report how he has followed the regulations.

After reports about fake albumin medicine, the SFDA yesterday said that it is looking into companies that produce counterfeit drugs to treat blood-related diseases.

(China Daily April 6, 2007)

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