AstraZeneca has confirmed that it has been visited by Chinese officials but says it involved an individual case and is not part of a wider investigation.

The company told PharmaTimes World News that it was visited by the Shanghai Public Security Bureau - Huangpu Branch - regarding "a local police matter focused on a sales representative". It believes that the probe "relates to an individual case and while we have not yet received an update from the PSB, we have no reason to believe it’s related to any other investigations".

The incident has attracted attention given the case of GlaxoSmithKline's problems in China as more details about bribery scandals in the country emerge. Abbas Hussain, GSK's president of Europe, Japan, emerging markets and Asia Pacific, who flew to China last week has been holding meetings with Chinese officials and acknowledged that some executives have indeed been involved with illegal activities.

Also last week, UCB's Shanghai office was visited by officials from the State Administration for Industry and Commerce. The Belgian drugmaker claimed that the inspection was one of several being carried out pharma companies active in the country, both Chinese and foreign companies.
AstraZeneca went on to say that "we have a strict global policy on ethical interactions, which all our employees and third parties acting on our behalf must follow, wherever they operate. This includes comprehensive processes for identifying and reporting any breaches".

The company concluded that "all AstraZeneca China employees and third parties on AstraZeneca’s behalf are required to strictly comply with these guidelines in the conduct of business".