The Lepu Medical Commercial Bribery Case
2018-11-09 11:07 Friday
In August 2018, the Shanghai Administration for Industry & Commerce determined that the exert lecture fees paid by Lepu Medical, a medical device firm, constitute commercial bribery, and imposed a fine of 150,000 RMB.
In April 2017, the organizing committee of an international cardiovascular academic conference in Guangzhou, invited some Chinese cardiovascular experts to attend; they are informed that they could receive a lecture fee if they provided their credentials after hosting or speaking.
Prior to the conference, Lepu Medical signed an agreement with the physicians association to organize a satellite meeting during the conference, to be led by Lepu Medical. The meeting attendees were mainly doctors in the field of cardiovascular treatment. Lepu not only arranged the specific schedule of the satellite meeting, but also invited eight cardiovascular experts to serve as speakers.
The main purpose of a genuine medical academic conference should be to disseminate academic achievements and knowledge, and 90% of a conference contents should be related to academic research. However, in this instance, Lepu Medical used the reputation of medical experts to sell its products to doctors at the meeting. Furthermore, the company also drafted the lecture notes and presentations, and provided them with information and data related to Lepu Medical products, with the intention of altering the content of the lectures.
The Shanghai Administration for Industry & Commerce concluded that Lepu Medical influenced the professional judgment of doctors attending the satellite meeting through the above-stated behavior, and gained an unfair competitive advantage. Therefore, its behavior violated Anti-unfair Competition Law, and constitutes an act of commercial bribery with regard to "units or individuals who use their power or influence to influence transactions".
As a result, Lepu Medical was punished due to three special characteristics of the satellite meeting, which should be avoided by all enterprises:
1. The enterprise organized the conference;
2. Paid professors to publicize medical products under the guise of academic research;
3. The conference's purpose was to mislead the attending doctors (consumers) and make profits.