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UK drugmaker GSK accused of bribery in China

Some executives of GlaxoSmithKline are being investigated for suspected bribery and tax-related violations, police say.

Last Modified: 11 Jul 2013 14:41
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GlaxoSmithKline said that it would cooperate with the Chinese authorities about the invesgation [Reuters]

Senior executives of the Chinese division of British pharmaceutical firm, GlaxoSmithKline, have been accused of running bribery campaigns, according to the ministry of public security.

Senior managers of GSK in China have confessed to bribery, "serious" business offences and tax crimes, the ministry of public security said on Thursday in a statement.

As a big multinational pharmaceutical company, GSK China in recent years rampantly bribed some government officials, a number of pharmaceutical industry groups and funds, hospitals and doctors

Ministry of Public Security, China

"As a big multinational pharmaceutical company, GSK China in recent years rampantly bribed some government officials, a number of pharmaceutical industry groups and funds, hospitals and doctors," said the ministry, which is in charge of China's police.

The firm did so in order to sell products or raise prices, it said, adding that benefits were provided "via travel agencies and other channels in the form of direct bribery or sponsorship".

It also committed tax-related crimes, the statement said, following police investigations in the financial hub Shanghai and the central cities of Changsha and Zhengzhou.

"The case involves a large number of people, a long period of time, a huge value and its circumstances are vile," it added.

No evidence of wrongdoing

It identified the employees only as "high officials" of the company and gave no details of the size of payments or who received them.

"After questioning, the suspects confessed to the crime,'' the statement said.

GSK said that it would cooperate with the authorities, but said Thursday's announcement was the first official communication it has received about the investigation.

"Corruption has no place in our business. If evidence of such activity is provided we would of course act swiftly on it," said a company statement.

The company said last month that it had investigated an accusation that its salespeople in China bribed doctors, but found no evidence of wrongdoing.

The company has said the police investigation might be based on information from the same anonymous source.

Last year, the British drugmaker, agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor criminal charges, and paid $3bn to settle what government officials described as the largest case of healthcare fraud in US history.

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