Firms call for end to medical sale kickbacks

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 November, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 November, 1995, 12:00am

DRUG producers have called for an end to medicine sale kickbacks which they say threaten the industry, pushing medical costs dangerously high.

Thirty-five major state-owned drug producers issued the appeal, saying the kickbacks were driving them out of business.

According to the semi-official Hong Kong China News Agency, drug producers are suffering heavy losses.

Some claim they pay kickbacks of up to 50 per cent of their sales to hospitals and pharmacies.

Many patients, especially low income earners, can no longer afford the expensive drugs and hospital bills, the agency report said.

It described the kickbacks as a 'black hole' but said the mainland media had woken up to the problem and begun to expose it.

The kickbacks also take the form of free trips and even offers to pay for home decoration, the agency said.

It said the payments had become a major income source for many medical personnel, mainly because of low wages.

According to the agency, 32 per cent of state drug producers were losing money by the end of June.

And up to 24.6 per cent of commercial drugs manufactured in the country did not even cover their cost.