British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) yesterday said that it was investigating allegations of bribery involving some of its employees in Jordan and Lebanon (see: After China, Iraq, Poland, GSK bribery probe now expands to Jordan, Lebanon).
Commenting on the recent publicity on cases of alleged misconduct by GSK employees in a number of countries, the London-based company said, this was a result of details of these cases being made available to the media.
In response to coverage on GSK operations in Jordan and Lebanon, the company made the following statement:
''GSK can confirm we are investigating allegations regarding the activity of a small number of individuals in our operations in Jordan and Lebanon. We started investigating using internal and external teams as soon as we became aware of these claims. These investigations have not yet concluded.
''We have zero tolerance for unethical or illegal behaviour. We expect our employees to uphold our high standards and we believe the vast majority do so. GSK welcomes and respects people speaking up where they have concerns and we have a number of channels internally to enable them to do this, including hotlines and online portals.
''We implement regular training for employees in compliance matters and we continue to improve compliance processes and procedures wherever we see a need.
''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.
''We are confident in our processes and controls and that we do not have a systemic issue with unethical behaviour in GSK.
''However, we recognise there are concerns regarding interactions between pharmaceutical companies and doctors, particularly related to perceptions of conflicts of interest. That's why we are the first company to have committed to undertake fundamental reforms to our business model to eliminate this concern by stopping payments to doctors to speak about our products, stopping payments to doctors to attend medical conferences and stopping pay for our sales reps being linked to individual sales targets.''