Nutricia staff alleged to have bribed doctors in Beijing

Nutricia staff alleged to have bribed doctors in Beijing

A second Danone division is the subject of bribery allegations in China.

Nutricia, Danone's medical nutrition arm, is alleged to have paid over 100 doctors in Beijing to boost sales.

Nutricia, which produces Karicare milk formula is said to have bribed doctors at 14 hospitals with between 2010 and 2013, the 21st Century Business Herald said yesterday (26 September), citing an anonymous source who claimed to be a student doctor. The bribes included gifts and tickets to shows, the paper said.

The allegations are the second set to hit Danone in the space of a week. Last week, Danone's baby food arm in China, Dumex, was accused of paying medical staff at a hospital in Tianjin to promote products to the parents of newborn children.

Danone said then it would launch an investigation into the Dumex allegations and, in a statement, Nutricia said it would do the same into the new claims.

"Nutricia China pays serious attention to the recent media coverage, and has immediately launched an internal investigation," it told just-food.

This summer, local employees of UK pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline were arrested for allegedly bribing doctors and officials to secure higher prices and win sales. This week, analysts at Citi said GSK's sales in China had dropped 30% since the scandal as hospitals refused entry to the company's sales reps.