Belfast Telegraph

Drug company in bribery allegation

By Lucy Tobin

Chinese police have accused GlaxoSmithKline of being the "ringleader" in a massive bribery scandal over drugs sales, involving as many as 700 middlemen and some thee billion yuan in bribes over the last six years.

Four GSK executives have been held amid allegations they bribed Chinese officials, doctors and hospitals to illegally boost sales and raise medicine prices, police said. They also claimed GSK employees received bribes "of a sexual nature" as well as cash bribes from middlemen travel companies.

"We found that bribery is a core part of the activities of the company," said Gao Feng, head of the economic crime investigation division of China's Ministry of Public Security. "To boost their prices and sales, the company performed illegal actions."

The four held are Chinese nationals employed at GSK and are China's head of compliance, the vice-president in charge of operations, the commercial development manager and the human resources director, Gao said. He said the British head of Glaxo's business in China, Mark Reilly, left China on June 27, after the probe was announced, and has not returned.

"You better ask him yourself why he has left China and is not willing to return so far," Gao said. "We did not take any measures to stop his departure."

He added that Chinese investigators had not "received any information from the UK headquarters" and said: "This is a very serious violation and a high-profile case, we are wondering why we have not yet received any information".

Glaxo responded that it was "deeply concerned and disappointed by the serious allegations".

Belfast Telegraph