Johnson & Johnson fined in China monopoly case

Chinese salesgirl with baby milk
Image caption China has accused foreign companies of monopoly practices

The healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson has become the latest foreign company to be accused of misconduct in China.

A ruling by a Shanghai court ordered the US company to pay $85,000 (£56,000) to a local distributor for violating anti-monopoly laws.

Two subsidiaries of the company were accused of setting a minimum price for the sale of surgical instruments.

Multinationals have faced increased scrutiny from the Chinese authorities.

Last month, two foreign milk suppliers announced price cuts after the government launched an investigation into possible price-fixing.


Four Chinese executives from the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline have also been detained after being accused of paying bribes.

The Chinese authorities are sensitive to consumer prices as the cost of living continues to surge.

Some business analysts say that foreign companies are being targeted to shore up the market share for their Chinese competitors.

The Shanghai court overturned a judgment by a lower court that cleared the Johnson & Johnson subsidiaries.

The judge said the ruling was intended to protect consumers and the public interest.

He said the $85,000 damages were intended to compensate the distributor, Rainbow Medical, for lost sales.

It was denied access to further products by the suppliers after being told it was selling medical equipment too cheaply.

Rainbow Medical brought the case to court with a demand for $2.2m compensation.

It expressed disappointment at the size of the award.

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