Dumex 'shocked' by Chinese bribe claims
Danone's Dumex brand is "extremely shocked" by allegations on Chinese state television that it bribed hospital staff to give its milk powder to newborn babies and will investigate immediately, the French food group said.
China Central Television (CCTV) cited an unidentified former Dumex sales manager as saying the company had paid medical staff at a city hospital in Tianjin to promote its products.
Chinese authorities have been cracking down on graft in various industries, notably the pharmaceutical sector. They imposed a record fine in August on a number of local and foreign-owned milk powder firms, including Danone, for price-fixing.
CCTV cited the former sales manager said that every year the brand would give several hundred thousand yuan in "gifts" to the hospital.
"Dumex China pays great attention to and is extremely shocked by the CCTV report . . . We will immediately launch an investigation," Dumex said yesterday. "Dumex Baby Food Co strictly adheres to Chinese laws and regulations."
Milk powder has been a highly sensitive topic in China since a scandal in 2008 after melamine was added to formulas, causing the deaths of at least six infants and leaving thousands ill. (Reuters)