Chinese police have arrested a second western businessman in connection with an investigation into alleged bribery of doctors by drug companies.
The US embassy said an American citizen has been detained by detectives investigating fraud and corruption in the Chinese medical system. The embassy refused to name the individual or say for which company he worked.
Sources at GSK and AstraZeneca, the British drug companies helping police with their inquiries, said the arrested person was not directly employed by them.
It follows the arrest of Peter Humphrey, a British private investigator who has worked for GSK in the past, on 10 July.
Police also detained two members of AstraZeneca's Chinese staff for questioning on Tuesday. The employees in Astra's main Shanghai sales centre are line managers of an Astra sales representative detained on Friday.
An Astra spokeswoman said one of the managers was "continuing to assist the [Shanghai public security] bureau with their inquiries". She said there was "no reason to believe [the arrest] is related to other investigations".
Meanwhile, four more western drug companies – Sanofi, Novartis, Merck and Roche – said they had used the same travel agency that GSK allegedly used to funnel bribes to doctors. All four companies said they had stopped using the Shanghai Linjiang agency.
China's health ministry said 39 hospital staff at a hospital in southern Guangdong province would be punished for taking £300,000 worth of bribes from two drug companies between January 2010 and December 2012.
"The vice-chairman of the hospital's trade union and two people in charge of the two pharmaceutical companies involved have had their cases transferred to judicial organs, while nine doctors who directly received kickbacks were dismissed, suspended or had their licences revoked," China's state news agency reported.
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