China probes doctor over $24 million bribes, 100 houses

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - China's top prosecutor is investigating a senior doctor in the country's western Yunnan province for taking over US$18 million (S$24 million) worth of bribes in cash, real estate and parking spots, the official China Daily reported on Tuesday.

Wang Tianchao, the head of Yunnan's No. 1 People's Hospital, used his position to seek bribes related to construction projects, medical device procurement and doctor positions, according to a statement from the country's top prosecutor.

The Supreme People's Procuratorate said Wang had received 35 million yuan (S$7.5 million) in cash, 100 properties worth around US$13 million and often coveted car parking spaces.

Patients often complain that backhanders are required to help them get to see top doctors, while industry insiders say kickbacks to medical professionals are widespread to help boost sales of drugs and medical equipment.

Reuters could not reach Wang or the hospital for comment.

Beijing has been cracking down on corruption in the healthcare sector, fining British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline PLC nearly US$500 million last year for bribing doctors to boost sales of its drugs.

China Daily added that Wang, who was in the running to become the head of the region's food and drug regulator, was removed from his post last month.

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