Dumex Baby Food Co, a subsidiary of French company Danone is launching a probe of its infant-formula marketing in China after it was alleged that the company paid hospital doctors and nurses to push its baby formula products on patients.
According to CCTV, Dumex allegedly paid doctors and nurses in the northern city of Tianjin to increase sales and market share.
Milk powder has been a controversial item in China ever since the 2008 Mengniu milk scandal that killed six children and infected over 300,000 others Chinese authorities have pledged to crack down on corruption in the $350 billion healthcare industry.
GlaxoSmithKline is currently being similarly investigated for allegedly offering inducements to doctors to promote the sale of its medicines.
This isn’t the first time Danone has been in trouble. Last year, the company was fined 172 million yuan for fixing the price of milk powder.
Dumex said it was “extremely shocked” by the allegations. “Dumex Baby Food Co strictly adheres to Chinese laws and regulations,” Charlotte Pasternak, the Danone spokeswoman said.
Demand for foreign brands has skyrocketed in China recently as tainted milk scandals have caused people to distrust local producers.