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Whistle-Blower Alleges Sanofi Bribed Doctors, Herald Says

A whistle-blower alleges that Sanofi gave about 1.69 million yuan ($276,000) in bribes to 503 doctors in China, the 21st Century Business Herald reported.

The whistle-blower, who provided materials to the newspaper based in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, used the pseudonym “bacon” and refused to give his identity, according to today’s report. The bribes were given as “research spending” in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Guangzhou around November 2007, it said.

Clare Xu, Sanofi’s Shanghai-based senior communications manager, said she couldn’t immediately respond to the report when contacted by Bloomberg News.

Chinese authorities have taken steps to clean up the nation’s medical industry and lower health-care costs. The measures include a police probe of GlaxoSmithKline Plc for allegedly bribing physicians in a bid to boost sales. Sanofi Chief Executive Officer Chris Viehbacher said on an Aug. 1 conference call that the company was visited by Chinese authorities on July 29 for unknown purposes.

The National Development and Reform Commission also announced last month that it was starting an investigation of medicine costs that includes a review of 60 drugmakers. Separately, Johnson & Johnson was fined 530,000 yuan last week after a court in Shanghai ruled that its setting of minimum resale prices constituted monopolistic conduct.

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