GlaxoSmithKline admits possible breach of law in China
BEIJING — GlaxoSmithKline, target of a bribery probe in China, said on Monday that some executives may have broken the law, while rival drugmaker AstraZeneca said police are investigating one of its sales representatives.
GSK said its president for Asia-Pacific and emerging markets met with Chinese police officials who are investigating whether GSK employees bribed doctors and hospital administrators to prescribe its drugs.
“Certain senior executives of GSK China who know our systems well appear to have acted outside of our processes and controls, which breaches Chinese law,” the executive, Abbas Hussain, said in a statement.
Four employees of GSK China, including a vice president, have been detained, according to police. The company says its China finance director is barred from leaving the country but is not detained.
AstraZeneca said police in Shanghai visited its office there “regarding a local police matter focused on a sales representative.”
“We believe that this investigation relates to an individual case,” the company said in a statement. “We have no reason to believe it's related to any other investigations.”
AstraZeneca “does not tolerate any illegal or unethical conduct,” the company statement said.
“We have a strict global policy on ethical interactions, which all our employees and third parties acting on our behalf must follow,” it said. “All AstraZeneca China employees and third parties on AstraZeneca's behalf are required to strictly comply with these guidelines in the conduct of business.”
The Chinese leadership that took power in November has promised to improve China's health system and rein in surging costs of medicine and medical care.
Police cited by state media have said bribery by Glaxo employees might have pushed up the cost of medication for patients.
Police say the Glaxo employees funneled as much as $490 million through travel agencies and consulting firms to hide the source of bribes, according to Chinese news reports. Investigators have not made clear how much of that money was paid as bribes.
The official Xinhua News Agency last week said the employees appeared to have used that strategy to evade GlaxoSmithKline PLC's internal anti-bribery controls.
Hussain's statement gave no additional details of the investigation.
“I want to make it very clear that we share the desire of the Chinese authorities to root out corruption wherever it exists,” Hussain said in the statement.
The Financial Times newspaper reported that Shanghai police detained an anti-fraud investigator who worked for GSK. The newspaper identified him as Stephen Humphrey, a British national who operates a firm in Hong Kong.
The British Embassy in Beijing confirmed that a British national was detained on July 10 in Shanghai but said it could give no other details. A Shanghai police spokesman, who would give only his surname, Xu, said he had no information on any detention of a Briton.
Last week, China's drug regulator began a crackdown on misconduct in its pharmaceutical market, though it gave no indication it was linked to the GlaxoSmithKline probe.
The State Food and Drug Administration said the campaign is aimed at stamping out unauthorized drug production, improper online drug retailing and sales of fake traditional Chinese medicines.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Energy companies vie for experienced workers with skills in high demand
- Drops in gasoline prices won’t likely last, analysts say
- Energy Spotlight: Adam Pope
- Energy-saving tactics pay off in Green Workplace Challenge
- Former athletes open businesses
- Chevron laying off 162 workers from Moon-based unit
- News keeps getting better at the pump, as national average nears $2 a gallon
- Energy industry says it’s on top of methane leaks, but environmentalists want oversight
- U.S. Steel plans to close two plants affecting 545 workers
- Mylan loses Supreme Court fight over multiple sclerosis drug
- Shale sector won’t gut area workforce