The sentencing to death of Zheng Xiaoyu — the former head of China's State Food and Drug Administration, found guilty of accepting bribes — will do nothing to inspire confidence that China is building an effective drug regulatory process, says this Nature editorial.
It is more likely to confirm a patchy rule of law and highlight the slim chance of doing business fairly in such an environment.
According to the editorial, China rightly sees the establishment of an internationally competitive pharmaceutical industry as essential to public health and the nurturing of innovation in the life sciences. It is also important to scientific and economic development.
But for global drug companies, the risks of investing in this industry in China are considerable, and the benefits will only be seen if a dependable regulatory regime can be established.
To do this, says the editorial, China must take steps toward a transparent drug-review process which functions under open, public scrutiny.