Giant Pharma Yangtze River Fined $117 Million in Antitrust Crackdown
What’s new: Yangtze River Pharmaceutical Group, one of China’s largest drug makers, is fined 764 million yuan ($117 million) for breaching the Anti-Monopoly Law, as regulators extended an antitrust crackdown to enhance market competition.
The fine is equivalent to about 3% of the Jiangsu-based company’s 2018 revenue, according to the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR). The regulator accused Yangtze River Pharma of fixing drug prices with retailers to restrict market competition and squeeze out competitors.
The company owns 452 medicine licenses covering a wide range of products, according to industry database Insight. It remained the top pharmaceutical company in China for six consecutive years between 2014 and 2019, based on the ranking published by China National Pharmaceutical Industry Information Center.
The background: The penalty on Yangtze River Pharma came as Chinese regulators step up efforts to crack down on monopolistic practices and extend antitrust scrutiny to more industries.
Since last year, regulators have targeted big tech companies for antitrust reviews. Earlier this week, officials summoned 34 tech companies including e-commerce giants JD.com Inc., Pinduoduo Inc. and Vipshop Holdings Ltd., ordering them to stop abusing their market dominance and to cease all illegal activities within one month or face “severe punishment.” The meeting followed a record 18.2 billion yuan fine slapped on Alibaba Group for monopolistic behavior.
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