Baby formula company 'bribed China hospital staff'

(File: Getty)

Chinese media has accused the local subsidiary of France's Danone of bribing hospital staff to promote the use of its milk powder to parents of newborns.

The Chinese subsidiary of France's Danone bribed hospital personnel to give the company's milk powder to newborns, state television says.

Dumex made payments to doctors and nurses at a hospital in the northeastern city of Tianjian, CCTV said.

Giving milk powder or formula to newborns contravenes the standard international - and Chinese - practice of encouraging mothers to breastfeed in the absence of medical reasons to the contrary.

Infants nourished with milk powder instead of mother's milk could suffer from weakened immune systems, CCTV said.

Dumex China said it was "extremely shocked by the CCTV report" and pledged to begin an investigation.

CCTV's source was a former Dumex sales manager who showed the network a detailed record of monthly payments to doctors. The bribes ranged as high as 10,000 yuan ($A1,360) per recipient.

Other milk-powder producers engage in similar tactics to promote their wares in China, CCTV said.

Pretending to be a sales rep for one of those firms, a network correspondent captured on tape a physician who offered tips on how to influence healthcare professionals.

The doctor urged the putative sales rep to organise a promotional event where gifts - in the form of cash or merchandise - could be distributed among the physicians.

"We can't even trust doctors any more. Apart from our parents, who, then?," one person said on Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter.

Source AAP

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch