"The overall medical market in Shanghai is good, although offering and taking commissions is not sporadic behavior," Song Guofan, an official at Shanghai Health Bureaum, tells The Shanghai Daily. "Shanghai is the first city in the nation to issue such a regulation to fight against corruption in purchasing medication and medical equipment. Pharmaceutical enterprises should behave themselves in the future to avoid facing such a severe punishment."
Song says health authorities have repeatedly conducted measures against financial bribery in the medical field. "However, previous campaigns didn't have good results, since it is difficult to get evidence."
Local hospital officials said stopping bribery will create fair competition in the pharmaceutical industry and eventually control the present high price of medication. "Our hospital has introduced many measures to prevent financial bribery. Staff purchasing medicine and equipment should change their jobs twice a year and sign a commitment promising not to take commissions. Doctors, especially surgeons, receive regular education on the issues," says Yin Zhifa, an official from Punan Hospital.
Under the rules, companies will be put on a blacklist if they are found to have offered bribes to legal authorities, hospital inspections, the health bureau, or government departments. Apart from punishing drugmakers, hospital officials, purchasing staff and doctors will have illegal profits confiscated if they are detected taking bribes, the bureau warns. Those who seriously violate the regs will have their professional licenses withdrawn. And hospital leaders should take responsibility if medical staff break the rules, the bureau says.