Roche has confirmed to PharmaTimes that its offices have been visited by Chinese authorities as scrutiny of the pharmaceutical sector increases in the country.

The Swiss major said in a emailed statement that "we are aware that local government authorities visited Roche’s office in Hangzhou on May 21 and the details of the visit are not clear. We will collaborate fully with authorities for any inquiries".

Reuters reported that the visit was made by local unit of China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce, one of the country's anti-trust regulators which usually specialises in corruption probes. The company's Shanghai Roche Pharmaceuticals subsidiary was founded in 1994 and has a portfolio of 15 products, covering seven treatment areas in China.

News of the visit comes a week after Chinese authorities accused Mark Reilly, former head of GlaxoSmithKline's operations in the country, of ordering employees to commit bribery following a ten-month investigation.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Kevin Jones, a Shanghai-based lawyer at Faegre Baker Daniels, said President Xi Jinping's government is cracking down on corruption, "so there’ll likely be more cases going forward.” He added that foreign companies "are an easy target because they’re generally held to a higher standard".