China launches crackdown on drug industry

BEIJING (AP) — China has launched a crackdown on misconduct in its drug market, stepping up pressure on the problem-prone industry while it pursues a bribery investigation of GlaxoSmithKline.

The State Food and Drug Administration said the six-month crackdown is aimed at stamping out unauthorized drug production, improper online drug retailing and sales of fake traditional Chinese medicines.

The announcement came two days after Chinese police accused GSK employees of conducting a multimillion-dollar bribery campaign to encourage doctors to prescribe its medications. It did not mention the British drug manufacturer.

The new Chinese leadership that took power in November has promised to improve China’s health system and rein in surging costs of medicine and medical care that are fueling public frustration.

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