Sanjing Pharma Says Chairman Jumps to Death During Probe

The chairman of Harbin Pharmaceutical Group Sanjing Pharmaceutical Co. jumped to his death while being investigated for corruption amid a nationwide crackdown on graft by officials and company executives.

Liu Zhanbin leapt out of a third-floor hospital restroom on May 18 in Heihe, a city on China’s northern border with Russia, while receiving a health check-up, the Chinese generic drugmaker said in a statement yesterday, citing prosecutors. He was being investigated by officials in the city for suspected graft, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign is growing into one of the broadest in the nation’s modern history as leaders pledge to target “tigers and flies,” or officials at both ends of the power spectrum. The crackdown has extended to the health-care industry and resulted in the arrests of doctors, hospital administrators and pharmaceutical executives.

Police handed a case to prosecutors last week alleging that the former head of GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s China unit, British national Mark Reilly, ordered sales teams to bribe hospitals and doctors. Glaxo has said it’s cooperating with the authorities.

Shares of Sanjing fell 2.4 percent to 6.58 yuan in Shanghai trading. Harbin Pharmaceutical Group, which owns a 75 percent stake in Sanjing, fell 4.5 percent.

Calls to Heihe city officials weren’t answered. A man who answered a call to Sanjing’s investor relations department, at company headquarters in the northeastern city of Harbin, declined to give his name and said the company had nothing more to disclose.

Sanjing’s President Liu Chunfeng will be interim chairman, the company said in yesterday’s statement. The former chairman’s death “would not have a major impact on the company’s operations,” it added.

— With assistance by Daryl Loo, and Alfred Cang

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