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Drug Watchdog's Ex-chief in Bribery Probe
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Zheng Xiaoyu, the former head of the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), who left his post 18 months ago, is now being investigated for allegedly taking bribes by the country's top disciplinary department. The China Business Post on Saturday reported that Zheng has been implicated in a string of bribery cases that occurred before he left his job on June 22 of 2005.

Last November one of Zheng's directors at the SFDA, Hao Heping, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for taking bribes. Hao was fired from his post as director of the SFDA's medical equipment department two weeks after Zheng left his job.

Cao Wenzhuang, former director of the SFDA's drug registration department, was detained in January 2006 on suspicion of bribery.

Both Hao and Cao had worked for Zheng as his secretary prior to becoming directors at the SFDA.

Zheng became SFDA director in 1998 when the agency was launched. He helped promote a certification system of Good Manufacturing Practice.

In 2002 China adopted national standards that replaced various local systems for approving medicines. All new medicines must now be approved by the SFDA before being sold.

Zheng, born in December of 1949, has worked in the pharmacy sector for 23 years. He was head of a pharmaceutical factory in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, before taking the post of director in 1994 in the State Drug Administration, which was merged four years later with the State Food Administration to create the SFDA.

(Xinhua News Agency January 8, 2007)

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