CHINA – China will strengthen law enforcement to combat monopoly practices and unfair competition in the pharmaceutical industry as the government strives to create a favorable business environment, the industry ministry has announced.

The action is in response to regulatory guidelines issued in November to combat monopolies in active pharmaceutical ingredients (API).

China is the world leader in manufacturing and exporting these products.

The ministry of industry and information technology said in a statement that it would “strengthen law enforcement against unfair competition and vigorously investigate unfair competitive acts, such as commercial bribery.”

It will also strengthen anti-monopoly enforcement in the areas of drug shortages and APIs, prepare and adopt antitrust guidelines in the API market, and investigate monopolistic pacts, according to the statement.

China has long sought to develop its pharmaceutical industry, sometimes through unconventional means.

Farther afield, the UK is retooling domestic competition law to account for platform power, and has stated that it will implement a “pro-competition” regime to protect smaller innovators from the market muscle of tech behemoths.

British antitrust regulators have launched an investigation into Microsoft’s nearly US$20 billion acquisition of speech recognition company Nuance, the latest indication that they are tightening their scrutiny of large technology transactions.

In a brief statement, the Competition and Markets Authority stated that it is investigating the purchase because it may result in a “significant lessening of competition” in the UK market.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority announced the inquiry, stating that a decision is expected by March 9.

In other news, AstraZeneca China has been summoned over allegations of fraud, Economic Times reported.

The National Healthcare Security Administration (NHSA) said that Chinese authorities summoned AstraZeneca China officials in connection with an investigation into suspected medical insurance fraud by the company’s employees.

The regulator of the state medical insurance fund stated that authorities had ordered the arrest of all suspects, but provided no details about the alleged violations or the amount of funds involved.

The NHSA also demanded that AstraZeneca China close loopholes in marketing activity supervision.

Furthermore, Chinese authorities will launch nationwide campaigns to combat genetic test fraud, urging those responsible for such violations to turn themselves in.

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