More foreign drug firms face scrutiny in China: report (Update)

May 27, 2014

China is reportedly putting more foreign drug firms under scrutiny, state media said Tuesday, days after the conclusion of a police probe into alleged bribery by employees of Britain's GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

Earlier this month, Chinese authorities ended a nearly one-year probe into GSK, accusing a top British executive of ordering employees to commit bribery and handing the case over to prosecutors.

Health authorities in the eastern city of Hangzhou were looking into the business practices of other drug companies, including US-based Eli Lilly, Britain's AstraZeneca and Novo Nordisk of Denmark, the 21st Century Business Herald newspaper reported, citing an internal document.

But two of the foreign companies named said the Hangzhou health bureau had not notified them of any such moves.

Another company, Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Roche, has previously said that officials from China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce had visited its offices in Hangzhou. Roche was not cited by the newspaper.

The GSK case came to light in June last year through a local investigation, after police in the central Chinese city of Changsha announced they were examining the company's employees for "economic crimes".

The 21st Century Business Herald said Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca and Novo Nordisk were required to conduct self inspections for kickbacks and report to local authorities.

But Eli Lilly on Tuesday denied it had been approached by Hangzhou health authorities.

"Lilly has not been contacted by (the) Hangzhou Health Bureau," the company said in a statement provided to AFP. "We fully cooperate with any inquiries we receive from (the) government and its agencies in China."

AstraZeneca offered a similar denial.

"We have not received any official communication on this topic at this time. AZ China cooperates with various Chinese authorities on a regular basis across a wide range of interactions," it said.

Novo Nordisk declined to comment, adding it would make a statement if an issue was deemed to have material impact on the company.

An official of the Hangzhou health bureau said no one was available to comment.

China's healthcare sector is widely considered to be riddled with graft, given the opaque tendering system for drugs and doctors' low salaries.

The government last year launched sweeping probes into alleged malpractice by foreign companies in several sectors, and against the backdrop of an anti-graft campaign backed by President Xi Jinping to root out official corruption.

Explore further: Probe-hit GlaxoSmithKline announces profits slump

Related Stories

Probe-hit GlaxoSmithKline announces profits slump

April 30, 2014
GlaxoSmithKline, the British drugs giant facing a series of probes into alleged staff corruption, announced sliding profits on Wednesday, one week after unveiling a group makeover.

British executive accused in China drug bribery

May 14, 2014
Chinese police Wednesday accused a British executive of GlaxoSmithKline of leading a sprawling scheme to bribe doctors and hospitals to use its drugs.

Novartis probes corruption claims in Chinese press

September 18, 2013
Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis announced Tuesday it has opened an internal inquiry following Chinese press accusations of corruption at its Alcon eye care division.

Chinese police say Glaxo employees bribed doctors

July 11, 2013
China's police ministry accused executives of pharmaceutical supplier GlaxoSmithKline on Thursday of conducting a large and long-running bribery campaign to persuade doctors to prescribe drugs.

Recommended for you

Study suggests ending opioid epidemic will take years

July 20, 2017
The question of how to stem the nation's opioid epidemic now has a major detailed response. A new study chaired by University of Virginia School of Law Professor Richard Bonnie provides extensive recommendations for curbing ...

Team-based model reduces prescription opioid use among patients with chronic pain by 40 percent

July 17, 2017
A new, team-based, primary care model is decreasing prescription opioid use among patients with chronic pain by 40 percent, according to a new study out of Boston Medical Center's Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine, which ...

Private clinics' peddling of unproven stem cell treatments is unsafe and unethical

July 7, 2017
Stem cell science is an area of medical research that continues to offer great promise. But as this week's paper in Science Translational Medicine highlights, a growing number of clinics around the globe, including in Australia, ...

Popular heartburn drugs linked to higher death risk

July 4, 2017
Popular heartburn drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been linked to a variety of health problems, including serious kidney damage, bone fractures and dementia. Now, a new study from Washington University School ...

Most reproductive-age women using opioids also use another substance

June 30, 2017
The majority of reproductive-age and pregnant women who use opioids for non-medical purposes also use at least one other substance, ranging from nicotine or alcohol to cocaine, according to a University of Pittsburgh Graduate ...

At-risk chronic pain patients taper opioids successfully with psychological tools

June 28, 2017
Psychological support and new coping skills are helping patients at high risk of developing chronic pain and long-term, high-dose opioid use taper their opioids and rebuild their lives with activities that are meaningful ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.