More reports on: Pharmaceuticals

After China, Iraq, Poland, GSK bribery probe now expands to Jordan, Lebanon

17 April 2014

British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) yesterday said that it was investigating allegations of bribery involving some of its employees in Jordan and Lebanon.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)The latest corruption probe follows recent allegations that its employees had bribed doctors to prescribe its products in China, Iraq and Poland.

 ''GSK can confirm we are investigating allegations regarding the activity of a small number of individuals in our operations in Jordan and Lebanon,'' the company said in statement.

''We started investigating using internal and external teams as soon as we became aware of these claims. These investigations have not yet concluded.''

GSK, Britain's biggest drug company, made the latest announcement on Jordan and Lebanon after The Wall Street Journal broke the story citing emails from an unnamed person who had informed the company in December 2013.

According to the paper, the emails allege that GSK sales representatives in Jordan and Lebanon bribed doctors to prescribe drugs and vaccines by giving free samples to sell and keep the money.

Early this month, prosecutors in Lodz, Poland, launched an investigation to find out whether GSK bribed doctors in the country between 2010 and 2012 to promote its asthma drug Seretide by showing that the money was spent on educating patients, according to whistle-blower Jarek Wisniewiski, a former GSK sales representative, who worked for eight years until 2012. (See: After China and Iraq, GSK now faces bribery probe in Poland)

Wisniewiski also alleged that doctors were paid for lectures that never took place.

Poland's Central Anti-Corruption Bureau said on Monday that 13 people have been charged in connection with alleged corruption.

Early this month GSK said that it has launched an investigation into allegations that the company hired 16 state-employed doctors and pharmacists in 2012 as their paid sales representatives in order to boost sales inn Iraq. (See: GSK launches probe into unethical conduct in Iraq)

Last July, Chinese regulators alleged that GSK paid 300 million between 2007 and 2010 through travel agencies to doctors and government officials for conferences that were never held, and to promote more drug prescriptions. (See: China accuses GSK of bribery, raising prices and tax fraud)

GSK absurdly defended the allegations by saying that these bribery charges were similar to ones faced by its rivals.

''We publicly disclose all cases of misconduct identified in the company. Last year there were 161 violations relating to breaches of our sales and marketing polices, resulting in 48 dismissals and 113 written warnings. These numbers are very similar to those reported by other companies in our sector (See: GSK's statement on media reports on misconduct of employees)


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