Zheng Xiaoyu (Chinese: 郑筱萸; pinyin: Zhèng Xiǎoyú; December 21, 1944 – July 10, 2007) was director of the State Food and Drug Administration of the People's Republic of China. He was sentenced to death in the first instance trial at Beijing No.1 Intermediate Court on May 29, 2007. He was executed on July 10, 2007 for corruption and possibly tainted products in Mainland China.
Zheng was director of the State Pharmaceutical Administration from 1994 to 1998, head of the State Drug Administration from 1998 to 2003, and director of the State Food and Drug Administration from 2003 to 2005.
In May 2007, Zheng was convicted of taking bribes and dereliction of duty and sentenced to death by a trial court in Beijing. These corrupt practices are believed to have led to 40 deaths in Panama from cough syrup that contained diethylene glycol in place of glycerin. Zheng had been convicted of personally approving unproven and unsafe medicines after taking bribes from eight pharmaceutical companies totaling more than 6.49 million RMB (or a rough equivalent of 850,000 USD) as the former head of China's ministry of food and drug safety, which resulted in at least a hundred patient deaths (directly and indirectly). Some Chinese claims on the Internet put the deaths in the thousands. As a result, Zheng's trial resulted in a death sentence. It was also discovered during his eight-year reign as the head of China's ministry of food and drug safety, Zheng personally ordered the approvals of more than 150,000 new medicines, an average of astonishing 134 times that of USA's FDA, which only approves 140 or so new medicines annually. Most of those 150,000 medicines were the products of the eight pharmaceutical companies that bribed Zheng, and a single unsafe medication of Anhui Hua Yuan (华源) Company (since closed, after its CEO committed suicide before his arrest) resulted in 14 patient deaths and hundreds being permanently disabled, while several thousand more fell seriously ill. Zheng's former deputy was also convicted, for accepting more than two million RMB (or a rough equivalent of 250,000 USD) to help Zheng Xiaoyu. The former deputy was sentenced to a two-year delayed death sentence and a new system for unsafe food recall would be implemented by the end of the year.
Zheng entered an appeal for leniency on June 12, saying that the sentence was "too severe" citing the fact that he had confessed his crimes and cooperated with investigators. However, the court ruled that he was a "great danger" to the country and its reputation. The appeal was rejected on June 22 and he was executed on July 10, 2007.
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- Former head of China's drug watchdog executed, Xinhua News Agency, July 10, 2007.
|Head of State Food and Drug Administration of China
2003 – 2005