All 3 Drug Tenders Won by 4 Firms Suspected of Bid-Rigging

Society Politics

Tokyo, Nov. 28 (Jiji Press)--All three tenders held by a Japanese government-linked body for ethical drugs were won by any of four major domestic pharmaceutical wholesalers suspected of bid-rigging, it was learned Thursday.

The four--Mediceo Corp., Alfresa Corp., Suzuken Co. <9987> and Toho Pharmaceutical Co.--were the only participants in each of the tenders by the Japan Community Health Care Organization (JCHO), according to sources in the institution.

The Fair Trade Commission is investigating the case, suspecting that the four companies have been continuing the malpractice since the JCHO was established, in an attempt to share profits.

Since its launch in 2014, the government-backed body has conducted three rounds of tenders, with each of them covering two years' supplies of 8,000 drugs for use at 57 hospitals it operates in the country. The drugs were divided into 140-150 groups in each tender. The four companies each won contracts for one or more groups, according to the sources.

In each of the three rounds of tenders, each firm received contracts worth 15 billion to 20 billion yen, with the combined value of the deals won by the four companies coming to 70 billion to 80 billion yen, the sources said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press