Bail granted in feud with drugmaker
Local authorities told to revisit case, as evidence was ‘not strong enough’
A doctor accused of damaging the reputation of a pharmaceutical company through false information was released on bail on Tuesday, and the case was sent back to public security authorities for further investigation.
The People’s Procuratorate in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region ordered prosecutors in Liangcheng county to return the case to the public security department “because the facts and evidence were unclear and not strong enough”.
The higher prosecuting authority also said the coercive measure imposed on the doctor, Tan Qindong, should be changed.
Tan, 39, was detained on Jan 10 on charges of harming the reputation of a pharmaceutical liquor made by Hongmao Pharmaceutical. Local authorities claimed he posted false information online, and the county’s prosecutors issued an arrest warrant on Jan 25.
Under regulations governing prosecutors, as well as a guideline on how they handle criminal cases, prosecuting authorities at higher levels are given the right to change, cancel or correct a decision made by lower authorities if an action is found to be flawed.
The Ministry of Public Security also ordered the regional police to undertake a review of the case and strengthen their supervision of law enforcement.
According to Shanghaibased online news outlet thepaper.cn, Tan said after walking out of the detention house that he had no regrets over what he said about the liquor.
The county police said on Sunday that Hongmao Pharmaceutical had suffered economic losses as a result of Tan’s comments. The company claims the liquor is good for health. But Tan, an anesthesiologist from Guangdong province, wrote online that the liquor was “a toxic substance from heaven”. His article spread online.
The company complained to authorities in December that the claim of toxicity was untrue.
According to previous information from the national food and drug authorities and reports in People’s Daily, the company has been punished multiple times for violating the Advertisement Law in different provinces.
Hongmao Pharmaceutical’s advertisements state that the liquor is made from dozens of traditional Chinese medicines and can relieve pain, cure colds and increase vigor. It is a traditional Chinese medicine product approved by China’s former Food and Drug Administration in 2015.
The Chinese Medical Doctor Association urged pharmaceutical companies on Monday to strictly follow laws and regulations in advertising and called on the Liangcheng county police to handle academic opinions and speeches with prudence and to avoid treating civil disputes as crimes.