US citizen detained in Chinese drug corruption probe

China Featured World - July 24th, 2013
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A US citizen has been detained in China in connection with a broadening investigation triggered by corruption scandals in the drugs industry.

US embassy spokesman Nolan Barkhouse confirmed an American was being detained, the second foreign national to be held amid the probe.

“We are aware that a US citizen has been detained in Shanghai. We are in contact with the individual and are providing all appropriate consular assistance,” Barkhouse said Tuesday.

He did not say which firm the unnamed American was associated with.

Police have also questioned two Chinese employees from drug maker AstraZeneca in Shanghai, according to Reuters.

A local sales representative was taken away for questioning earlier although AstraZeneca said it was not related to other investigations.

China’s health ministry said 39 employees at a hospital in southern Guangdong province would be punished for taking illegal kickbacks totaling 2.82 million yuan ($460,367) from two drug makers, in the latest crackdown on corruption among multinational pharmaceutical firms.

A British risk consultant linked with GlaxoSmithKline was held earlier this month over bribery allegations by the drug maker.

GSK has been accused by Chinese authorities of funneling up to 3 billion yuan ($489 million) to travel agencies who would organize fake conferences for doctors.