Division Chiefs at 4 Drug Wholesalers May Have Rigged Bids

Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, Oct. 14 (Jiji Press)--Division chief-level officials at four major Japanese drug wholesalers at the center of a suspected bid-rigging case may have played a major role in the irregularities, informed sources said Wednesday.

The officials of Mediceo Corp., Alfresa Corp., Toho Pharmaceutical Co. and Suzuken Co. <9987> are suspected of holding meetings before the bidding to adjust their bids, according to the sources.

The sources also said that concerns among the four companies about difficulties generating profits following cuts in government-set prices of ethical drugs may have been behind the suspected bid-rigging.

The four firms were raided by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office’s special investigation squad and the Fair Trade Commission on Tuesday for allegedly preselecting winners for orders from the government-affiliated Japan Community Health Care Organization, or JCHO, in 2016 and 2018 to supply drugs for use at 57 JCHO-operated hospitals across Japan in violation of the antimonopoly law. The special squad is set to question the company officials.

According to the sources, the companies may have attempted to secure profits by keeping the prices of drugs supplied to JCHO at high levels through bid-rigging as the business environment surrounding the firms was increasingly tough due to drug price cuts by the government.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press