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Shanghai (AFP) Oct 15, 2013
French baby formula maker Dumex has pledged disciplinary action and management changes in China after state media accusations that staff offered healthcare workers bribes to promote its products.
State television reported last month that Dumex employees made payments to doctors and nurses at hospitals in the northern city of Tianjin to provide Dumex formula to newborn babies.
The Tianjin government on Monday said 116 medical staff from 85 institutions in the city were involved in the case.
In a statement provided to AFP on Tuesday, Dumex cited inappropriate management in an educational programme for new mothers.
"The company has expressed its deep regret for these shortcomings," the statement said.
"Disciplinary actions will be taken according to the relevant company regulations, including appointing new management personnel," it said, but gave no details.
A spokeswoman for Dumex in China declined to comment beyond the statement.
Dumex said it had suspended the education programme nationwide and would require mandatory training for employees to ensure compliance with company policies and Chinese law.
The company did not directly state its employees engaged in bribery.
The Chinese government in August fined Dumex, a subsidiary of French dairy giant Danone, 172 million yuan ($28 million) in a separate case over baby formula price fixing.
China fined a total of six companies, five of them foreign, over setting high prices.
China is the world's biggest market for formula and foreign-branded products are in high demand after repeated safety scandals involving domestic products -- including one in 2008 when six children died and 300,000 were sickened.
Beijing's targeting of foreign companies in several sectors ranging from formula to pharmaceutical products has raised worries over the country's business environment.
Authorities have also probed foreign drug makers over prices and detained four executives of British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in a bribery case.
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