Bayer has confirmed that officials in China have made inquiries into a potential case of unfair competition.

Oliver Renner, head of global corporate communications and public affairs at the German major, told PharmaTimes that a local branch of the AIC (Administration for Industry and Commerce) “visited one of our offices in China at the end of August to investigate a potential case of unfair competition”. He added that “we are fully cooperating with the authority” and Bayer is committed to investigating the issue internally.

No further details have been disclosed about the probe but the move comes as part of China's investigations into the pharmaceutical sector as a whole regarding alleged corruption. The most high-profile cases to date have involved GlaxoSmithKline, most notably a charge that the company made payments to travel agencies which were then used to bribe doctors.

News of the Bayer probe came after the country’s Central China Television broadcast a report alleging that a subsidiary of Sino Biopharmaceutical, Chia Tai-Tianqing Pharmaceutical, offered holidays in Taiwan and Thailand to doctors. It is the first publicised case of the Chinese government investigating a local drugmaker rather than a multinational.