GSK is one of the world's biggest drug producers but has come under scrutiny in China ?
GSK is one of the world's biggest drug producers but has come under scrutiny in China ?

London-based GlaxoSmithKline apologized to “the people of China” on Friday after a Chinese court fined the company 3 billion yuan (490 million dollars) and sentenced several GSK China executives to prison for bribery.

GlaxoSmithKline The court in the central province of Hunan sentenced Mark Reilly, the former head of GSK China, to three years in prison and several other former GSK China executives to between two and three years in prison, the official Xinhua news agency said.

A 10-month investigation found that Reilly had “ordered his subordinates to offer bribes,” police said.

The investigation concluded that the company had forced sales teams to bribe medical staff to meet rising sales targets.

Andrew Witty, GSK’s chief executive, on Friday said the case was “a deeply disappointing matter for GSK.”

GSK said it “fully accepts the facts and evidence of the investigation” and planned to pay the fine.

“The illegal activities of GSKCI (GSK China Investment Co. Ltd) are a clear breach of GSK’s governance and compliance procedures,” the company said.

It said the actions of the convicted GSK staff were “wholly contrary to the values and standards expected from GSK employees.”

Investigators said sales staff had sometimes disguised bribes as payments for non-existent lectures by doctors or as expenses for travel to medical seminars.

The firm was accused of transferring some 3 billion yuan to 700 travel agents over six years to pay for perks given to doctors and other hospital staff, state media said.

Industry analysts said similar bribery of medical staff had been a widespread practice among local and foreign pharmaceutical companies operating in China.

GNA

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