China's SAIC denies probe as reports proliferate on alleged devices crackdown

Three multinational makers of medical devices that together control 80% of China's market for large equipment are said to be under investigation for bribery charges. General Electric ($GE), Royal Philips ($PHG) and Siemens reportedly are the targets.

Previous reports confined the probe to Siemens, sparking a response by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce that it not only had not launched an investigation of Siemens, it had not even received media queries about it.

Reuters first reported that Siemens was investigated, citing anonymous sources. Bloomberg followed with a story adding GE and Philips to the list of devicemakers under investigation.

Sources said the agency had not decided whether to begin a formal investigation, according to the news service, suggesting that was what SAIC was pointing to in its denial.

The Bloomberg report also said Siemens called SAIC's review routine and denied it was related to corruption.

Siemens said it was a routine review of marketing and business models, but added later that it was working with the agency "to dispel its concerns and expects to resolve the matter in the near future."

Philips said it was not aware of an investigation and GE did not respond.

GE's Discover MR750 MRI Scanner

According to Bloomberg, which cited its own sources, SAIC is probing whether the three got their large share of the market for CT and MRI scanners by bribing hospitals to use their products.

China's state-run media, including China Daily, ran their own stories but relied almost entirely on the Bloomberg and Reuters accounts. China Daily added that SAIC declined to comment.

Reuters began the reports over the weekend as an "exclusive," saying the probe was about the Siemens Healthcare unit and dealers bribing hospitals to purchase their devices. It said SAIC accused them of violating competition laws by donating devices with an agreement the hospital would buy only the Siemens reagents required for the equipment.

- here's the release from SAIC (Chinese)
- and stories from Bloomberg, Reuters, China Daily, Xinhua and