The US Department of Justice has expanded its investigation into GlaxoSmithKline’s activities in other countries to include the drug major’s problems in China,according to Reuters.

The news agency cites three unnamed sources familiar with the US probe who claim the DoJ is keeping a close eye on allegations that GSK, and not just individual employees, was bribing doctors. This was confirmed to Reuters by GSK spokesman David Mawdsley who is quoted as saying that “since the investigation in China began, we have proactively reached out to relevant regulators. This includes the DoJ, and we have been in an ongoing dialogue with them”.

The DoJ's probe is focusing on whether GSK and other drugmakers violated the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Despite being a UK firm, GSK can be investigated because it is also listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Meantime, GSK has confirmed it is not thinking of exiting in China. Rumours began following an article on the BBC website suggesting the company may look to withdraw due to its recent difficulties.

However in response to a query, the company has directed observers to its website where GSK states that “we are deeply concerned and disappointed by these allegations”. However, it notes that “we have invested heavily in China, spending more than $500 million to date, creating more than 7,000 jobs and running a number of factories”, while its R&D facility in the country is “the global centre for our research into neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease”.

GSK concludes by saying it “remains committed to China for the long term to serve customers, partners and patients”.