Zheng Xiaoyu, the former head of China's food and drug regulator, was sentenced to death by a court in Beijing on Tuesday for taking more than US$832,000 in bribes from drugs companies, the Financial Times reported. State media also reported that Zheng "endangered public life and health" by approving an antibiotic that was withdrawn from the market last year after 10 patients died, in addition to six medicines which were actually fakes and allowed eight companies to avoid drug approval procedures. The death sentence can still be appealed, but the decisive response from Beijing points to quality concerns brought on by a spate of recent scandals abroad. In the US, tainted pet food containing melamine resulted in the death of 16 animals, while toothpaste exported to South America was recalled last week after it was found to contain a poisonous chemical. The State Council ordered a review of the licenses of 170,000 drugs earlier this year, most of which were approved during Mr Zheng's tenure at the State Food and Drug Administration.