British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has launched an investigation into allegations about its conduct in Iraq, just months after Chinese regulators initiated a probe on arbitrarily raising prices, bribery, and tax fraud.
The London-based company is probing allegations on the company hiring 16 state-employed doctors and pharmacists in 2012 as their paid sales representatives in order to boost sales.
The Wall Street Journal reported that a whistle-blower familiar with the company's Middle East operations had informed the company late last year through emails.
The email says that the alleged malpractice violated both the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Britain's Bribery Act.
"We have zero tolerance for unethical or illegal behaviour," said spokesperson for GSK.
"In total, we employ fewer than 60 people in Iraq in our pharmaceuticals operation and these allegations relate to a small number of individuals in the country," the spokesperson added.
The Iraq probe comes less than a year after China launched a probe into allegations that employees of GSK in China bribed doctors, hospitals, government officials and others to prescribe the company's medicine in order to increase drug sales. (See: China accuses GSK of bribery, raising prices and tax fraud)
The fresh allegation in China was another blow to GSK, which is already under investigation in one case by the Chinese police for economic crimes and in another case by regulators over suspected price fixing.
GSK has also launched an internal inquiry into allegations that its employees in China paid bribes to doctors to prescribe the anti-wrinkle treatment drug Botox.