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Roche confirms visit to office by investigators

By Yao Jing (China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-23 07:02

Roche confirms visit to office by investigators

A man walks out of Roche Pharma Research and Early Development China at Zhangjiang Biological Medicine Industry Incubator in Shanghai, China, Sept 2, 2013. [Photo/IC]

Foreign drugmakers may face more scrutiny of their operations in the Chinese market after Switzerland-based pharmaceutical company Roche Holding AG said local authorities called on its offices in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on Wednesday.

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"We are aware that local government authorities visited Roche's office in Hangzhou on May 21, and the details of the visit are not clear," Roche's communications department in Shanghai said in an e-mail statement on Thursday.

"We will fully cooperate with the authorities involving any inquiries," the statement said.

The company's Beijing office is reportedly under investigation, according to news portal

Bao Lei, Roche's Shanghai-based director of communications, denied the report when contacted by telephone.

On May 14, an executive at British drugmaker Glaxo-SmithKline Plc was charged with leading a network to bribe doctors and hospitals to use the company's drugs.

The Chinese government initiated an anti-corruption campaign for the medical industry last July after conducting a bribery investigation into GSK.

The scandal widened across the industry, with other multinational pharmaceutical companies also facing scrutiny in China over claims they bribed medical staff to prescribe their products.

Roche said the company was not under government scrutiny at that time.

Commenting on the latest visit, Bruce Liu, an industry veteran, said it wasn't entirely unexpected, given that many drug companies faced probes last year.

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