The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Chief executive of Chinese drug maker Sanjing jumps to his death in midst of bribery probe

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BEIJING, China - The chief executive of a Chinese drug company has jumped to his death, the company said Monday. State media said he was under investigation on suspicion of taking bribes.

Sanjing Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. said Liu Zhanbin jumped Sunday from a third-floor bathroom window in a hospital where he was receiving medical treatment under the supervision of court guards.

Sanjing said the company has appointed an interim CEO and that Liu's death would have no impact on its operations.

The government's China News Service and the Communist Party newspaper People's Daily said Liu was under investigation on suspicion of taking bribes. They gave no details of the investigation.

The Chinese government has launched a sweeping investigation of drug companies as part of efforts to improve health care and rein in drug prices.

Doctors and hospitals in China's state-run, poorly funded health system routinely accept informal payments from patients and suppliers of drugs and medical goods.

Hospitals also raise money by adding surcharges to drug prices and assigning employees sales quotas. That encourages the overuse of expensive drugs or procedures.

Last Wednesday, the public security ministry announced that a British executive of GlaxoSmithKline has been accused of leading a sprawling scheme to bribe doctors and hospitals to use its drugs. It said the case has been turned over to prosecutors.

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