China probes Siemens Healthcare unit dealers on alleged bribery of hospital officials, Reuters says

China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce is leading an investigation into allegations that hospital officials were bribed by dealers for Siemens AG to exclusively buy company-supplied disposable chemical reagents needed to operate certain medical devices, according to a story by the Reuters news agency.

Initial allegations of fraud involving dealer sales for Siemens Healthcare in China were reported by a Chinese newspaper in March. But Reuters said that the investigation has not previously been reported.

China has kept a close eye on healthcare since a 2013 bribery scandal broke at GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) that ultimately ended in a vast revamp of the company's sales practice in China as well as $479 million in fines, the amount the China government said the drugmaker had doled out in bribes.

Reuters said that a "senior spokesman" for Siemens in Germany said the company was "not aware" of the investigation.

"We are not aware of any situation that conforms to what you describe," spokesman Matthias Kraemer was reported by Reuters to have said in response to questions emailed to Siemens in China and to the group's headquarters.

Reuters also said the State Administration for Industry and Commerce declined to comment.

Reuters said the investigation may cover as many as 1,000 hospitals and could lead to other probes of devicemakers.

- here's the story from Reuters