Drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which is under investigation on suspicion that its employees bribed Chinese doctors, yesterday said the finance director for its local unit has been barred from leaving China.
Finance director Steve Nechelput has not been questioned or arrested and is free to travel within China, the British company said in a statement. It said it had been aware of the travel restrictions since the end of last month. Nechelput continues to work in his role as finance director for the company’s China unit.
Chinese police announced this week that they detained four GSK employees on suspicion of paying bribes to doctors, hospitals and others to encourage them to prescribe the company’s medications.
Police say the employees funneled as much as 3 billion yuan (US$490 million) through travel agencies and consulting firms to hide the source of bribes, according to Chinese news reports. Investigators have not said how much of that money was paid as bribes.
Xinhua news agency said the scheme appeared to be aimed at evading GSK’s internal controls meant to prevent bribery.
GSK has said it opposes bribery and was cooperating with the investigation.
On Wednesday, the Chinese State Food and Drug Administration launched a crackdown on misconduct in its pharmaceutical market, though it gave no indication it was linked to the GSK probe.
The drug regulator said the campaign is aimed at stamping out unauthorized drug production, improper online drug retailing and sales of fake traditional Chinese medicines.
The new Chinese leadership that took power in November last year has promised to improve China’s health system and rein in surging costs of medicine and medical care that are fueling public frustration.
China has suffered repeated scandals over fake or shoddy medications, some of which caused deaths and injuries. Regulators have launched repeated crackdowns on false advertising and other violations, but with limited success.
Also on Wednesday, a Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman warned that Chinese and foreign drug manufacturers would face “legal sanctions” for misconduct.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet’s planning agency is investigating production costs at 60 Chinese and foreign pharmaceutical manufacturers, according to state media, possibly a prelude to revising state-imposed price caps on key medications.
END TO SPECULATION: The hotel’s management contract has been extended, despite reports that it wanted to end its alliance with Hyatt Hotels over a deal with Riant Capital Singapore-based Hong Leong Hotel Development Ltd (豐隆大飯店股份) yesterday said it has extended a management contract to ensure the continued presence of the Grand Hyatt brand in Taipei, ending rumors that the two sides were parting ways. “We are pleased Hyatt is able to come to terms on the extension of the management contract of Grand Hyatt Taipei,” said Kwek Leng Beng (郭令明), executive chairman of City Developments Ltd (城市發展) and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Ltd (千禧國敦酒店). Hong Leong Hotel Development is a subsidiary of Millennium, and both fall under the Hong Leong Group (豐隆集團). The Grand Hyatt Taipei (台北君悅大飯店), owned and built by
’WHITE BOX’: The open platform would give local firms access to Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop 5G telecom equipment and tap into the global market The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday introduced a new 5G “open lab” in collaboration with US-based information technology and networking giant Cisco Systems Inc to address the rapidly growing “white box” 5G networking equipment market. The open lab will be a platform where Taiwanese manufacturers can access Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop their own 5G telecom equipment, such as small-cell base stations, network switches, modems and Internet of things (IoT) devices, a ministry statement said. The open platform would allow Taiwanese manufacturers to tap into the lucrative 5G telecom equipment market, which was previously monopolized by Nokia Oyj, Ericsson AB
Nintendo Co is raising its target for Switch production to about 25 million units this fiscal year, people familiar with the matter said, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic keeps lifting demand and component shortages ease. The Kyoto, Japan-based company, which in April hiked orders to 22 million units by March next year, is asking partners to tack on another few million units, said the people, who did not want to be identified discussing internal goals. Assembly partners plan to work at maximum capacity through December. The new production target suggests that Nintendo is likely to outperform its Switch sales forecast of 19 million
‘BIG LOSS’: This year might see the last generation of Huawei’s Kirin chips, as their production would stop next month because they are made using US technology Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co (華為) is running out of processor chips to make smartphones due to US sanctions and would be forced to stop production of its own most advanced chips, a company executive has said, in a sign of growing damage to Huawei’s business from US pressure. Huawei, one of the biggest producers of smartphones and network equipment, is at the center of US-Chinese tension over technology and security. Washington last year cut off Huawei’s access to US components and technology, and those penalties were tightened in May, when the White House barred vendors worldwide from using US