13 punished in China over milk powder bribes

Beijing, Oct 14 : At least 13 medical workers in China have been punished for taking bribes from a French milk powder producer.

A probe found that a total of 116 people from 85 hospitals and health organisations took commercial bribes from the French company, Danone, to give lectures to the parents of newborns, introduce and recommend Dumex milk powder, and give free product samples, the China Daily reported.

Thirteen serious violators in China's Tianjin municipality, however, were given punishment including cancellation of medical licenses and deduction of salaries. Six authorities from the medical departments of both municipal and district levels received administrative sanctions of warnings or even records of demerit, authorities said.

French company Danone, which markets its infant formula under the brand Dumex, gave kickbacks to medical staff in Tianjin Central Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynaecology to feed newborn babies its infant formula products, so the babies would develop a taste for the product, the China Central Television reported in September.

The Tianjin Health Bureau, local government and police, investigated the matter.

On Sep 17, after the secret deals were reported, the National Health and Family Planning Commission told hospitals to strictly abide by the law governing breast milk substitutes.

--IANS (Posted on 14-10-2013)

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