Bribing medics

THE president and two senior officials from Otsuka Pharmaceutical, a Japanese drugs firm, have been arrested on suspicion of bribing a university medical professor to provide training courses. Public prosecutors and police arrested company president Akihiko Otsuka, drug development chief Yoichi Yabuuchi and former head of judicial affairs Shigeki Kawaguchi. The investigators allege that between 1995 and 1998, the three men gave bribes to Hiroyoshi Hidaka, then professor at the state-run Nagoya University medical d@partment. The bribes were a reward to Hidaka for accepting Otsuka employees at the university and allowing them to use research facilities.

The drug firm had been sending employees to Hadaki's laboratory since 1987. The funds were allegedly sent to a dummy research institute set up by Hidaka in Kinagashima in western Japan. Hidaka has already been indicted for allegedly taking bribes from Omiya- based pharmaceutical firm Fuji Yakuhin and Kyoto-based drugs company Nippon Shinyaku. He resigned from his university post four days before his arrest last August.

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