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Former Head of Drug Watchdog Accused of Taking Bribes
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Zheng Xiaoyu, former director of the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), who was expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) last month, has been accused of taking bribes of more than 5 million yuan (about US$650,000).


Zheng's case, previously investigated by the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, has been transferred to the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP). Zheng is locked up awaiting trial, according to a report of the 21st Century Business Herald.


The report said Zheng's relatives are also being investigated for assets worth of millions of yuan which they could not account for.


All of the bribes, including cash and gifts, came from pharmaceutical companies, said the report.


The report mentioned a pharmaceutical company in south China's Hainan Province, the Hainan Kongliyuan Group, which gave Zheng bribes and paintings.


In return, the company acquired 277 approvals of medicines from the SFDA, including more than 100 approvals in 2005. Most of the medicines were antibiotics which could bring high profits for the company.


The heads of the company have also been detained for investigation, said the report.


Zheng first came under investigation by the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in December last year.


Well-informed sources said that clues to Zheng's case were discovered during an investigation of his subordinates.


Hao Heping, one of Zheng's former secretaries, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for bribery in November last year. Cao Wenzhuang, another former secretary of Zheng, came under investigation in January of last year.


Zheng was appointed director of the SFDA when it was created in 1998.


In 2002, China adopted national standards for approving medicines. All new medicines have to be approved by the SFDA before they can be put on the market.


Zheng also helped promote a certification system called Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), which was brought into disrepute by a series of health scares and corruption scandals. 


(Xinhua News Agency April 8, 2007)

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