American Detained in Chinese Pharma Scandal

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An American has been detained in connection with investigations sparked by an unfolding corruption scandal in the pharmaceuticals industry in China, a U.S. embassy official said on Tuesday.

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When asked if any U.S. citizen had been detained in the widening probe triggered by charges of corruption against GlaxoSmithKline, embassy spokesman Nolan Barkhouse said, "We are aware that a U.S. citizen has been detained in Shanghai. We are in contact with the individual and are providing all appropriate consular assistance."

He declined to say which company the individual was associated with.

Chinese police, who have detained four Chinese executives from GSK, last week accused the British firm of bribing officials and doctors to boost sales and raise drug prices by funneling up to 3 billion yuan ($489 million) to travel agencies.

Chinese authorities also visited the offices of Belgian drug maker UCB and on Friday took away a sales representative of AstraZeneca for questioning. Both UCB and AstraZeneca have offices in Shanghai.