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Archive for Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Former drug regulator sentenced to death

May 30, 2007

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— A Chinese court ordered the death penalty against the country's former top drug regulator Tuesday, convicting him of taking bribes to approve substandard medicines, including an antibiotic blamed for at least 10 deaths.

The sentencing of Zheng Xiaoyu came as the government announced plans for its first recall system for unsafe products.

The sentencing and the recall plan are among the most dramatic steps by China to address growing concern over shoddy and unsafe Chinese goods - from pet food ingredients and toothpaste mixed with industrial chemicals to tainted antibiotics.

The sentence was heavy even for China, which is believed to carry out more court-ordered executions than all other nations combined - and likely indicates the leadership's determination to deal with the recent scares involving unsafe food and drugs.

Zheng was convicted by Beijing's No. 1 Intermediate People's Court of taking bribes worth more than $832,000 while he was director of the State Food and Drug Administration, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Those bribes allowed eight companies to get around drug approval standards, it said.

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