Exclusive: Siemens healthcare unit probed by China regulator for bribery - sources

Sat May 2, 2015 11:03pm EDT
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By Adam Jourdan and Engen Tham

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A Chinese regulator investigated Siemens AG last year over whether the German group's healthcare unit and its dealers bribed hospitals to buy expensive disposable products used in some of its medical devices, three people with knowledge of the probe told Reuters.

The investigation, which has not previously been reported, follows a wide-reaching probe into the pharmaceutical industry in China that last year saw GlaxoSmithKline Plc fined nearly $500 million for bribing officials to push its medicine sales.

China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) accused Siemens and its dealers of having violated competition law by donating medical devices in return for agreements to exclusively buy the chemical reagents needed to run the machines from Siemens, the people said.

Reuters was unable to determine whether Siemens had denied the accusations or if any action was taken against the company or the dealers.

A senior spokesman for Siemens in Germany said he was "not aware" of the investigation and declined to comment on specific questions about the investigation.

"We are not aware of any situation that conforms to what you describe," said Germany-based spokesman Matthias Kraemer in response to questions emailed to Siemens in China and to the group's headquarters. He declined to comment further.

SAIC declined to comment.

China-based lawyers said it was not uncommon for regulators to conduct investigations behind closed doors and for legal teams to then negotiate settlements to keep probes under wraps.   Continued...

A Siemens logo is pictured on an office building of Siemens AG in Munich May 30, 2014.  REUTERS/Lukas Barth