China fines Johnson & Johnson and others for price fixing

BEIJING Thu May 29, 2014 7:57am EDT

Products made by Johnson & Johnson for sale on a store shelf in Westminster, Colorado April 14, 2009.   REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Products made by Johnson & Johnson for sale on a store shelf in Westminster, Colorado April 14, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking

BEIJING (Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson, Bausch & Lomb Inc and other major producers have been fined more than 19 million yuan ($3.04 million) for fixing prices in China's eye glass and contact lens market, China's top economic regulator said on Thursday.

The companies mandated their dealers to set the price of lenses strictly in accordance to a "suggested level", the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a statement on its website.

They also ordered retailers to jointly launch promotions in major Chinese cities all year around to keep prices stable, the notice said.

Dealers and retailers who do not comply with the order will be subject to unspecified financial penalties, it said. Other penalties may include seeing a halt to their supplies from the overseas manufacturers.

Johnson & Johnson executives could not be reached immediately for comment.

Chinese authorities have charged executives at British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline over bribery and corruption. Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG had also been visited by a unit of China's anti-trust regulator.

Other overseas eyes lenses brands named by NDRC included Essilor International SA, Nikon Corp, Carl Zeiss Meditec AG.

(Reporting by Fang Yan and Matthew Miller, editing by William Hardy)

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