Drugmaker Roche says visited by authorities in China
SHANGHAI/ZURICH May 22 (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG said on Thursday it had been visited by a unit of China's anti-trust regulator, amid increasing scrutiny over business practices in the pharmaceutical sector in the country.
"We understand that a local government unit in Hangzhou visited Roche's offices on May 21, but the specific details are not yet clear. We will cooperate fully with the work of the relevant government department," Roche said in a statement emailed to Reuters on Thursday.
A Basel-based spokesman added that the authority was a local unit of China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), one of the country's anti-trust regulators, and the body which usually takes the lead on probes into corruption.
Last week Chinese authorities charged executives at British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline over bribery and corruption, with legal and industry sources saying that the crackdown against the pharmaceuticals sector was now likely to get more intense.
GSK has said it wants "to reach a resolution that will enable the company to continue to make an important contribution to the health and welfare of China and its citizens". (Reporting by Adam Jourdan in SHANGHAI and Caroline Copley in ZURICH; Editing by Kazunori Takada and Edwina Gibbs)