China state media raises pressure on Britain's GSK

September 3, 2013

Chinese state media increased the pressure on British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) over a bribery investigation Tuesday, accusing the firm of being responsible rather than individual employees.

The inquiry into GSK comes as authorities target foreign firms in fields ranging from medicines to food, sometimes for what analysts say is standard practice engaged in on a larger scale by domestic companies.

Police have already accused GSK staff of offering doctors bribes to prescribe its products and detained four executives.

But the official Xinhua news agency said: "As the investigation is moving on, it is becoming clear that it is organised by GSK China rather than drug 's individual behaviour."

GSK has previously admitted that some of its executives broke Chinese law.

In a statement issued Tuesday, GSK said it was concerned about allegations of misconduct and would cooperate with the .

"We remain deeply concerned by the of fraudulent behaviour and ethical misconduct in our China business," it said.

"The issues identified would be a clear breach of our corporate values and we have zero tolerance for any behaviour of this nature."

Xinhua cited one of the detained GSK officials, general manager for business development Huang Hong, as saying the company set up a special team to handle important clients which had an annual "relations" budget of nearly 10 million yuan ($1.6 million).

The report did not say those funds were used for bribes.

Sales growth targets set by the firm as high as 25 percent put pressure on employees, Xinhua quoted Huang as saying.

"If we didn't have... enough input into safeguarding customer relations, using some methods that broke the rules, it would be hard to meet such high sales growth targets," she added.

A travel agency which allegedly served as a conduit for bribes to doctors also gave GSK executives kickbacks in return for business, Xinhua said.

The Shanghai Linjiang International Travel Agency—which has already been shut by authorities—gave more than 2.0 million yuan to GSK vice president Liang Hong, who has also been detained, the report said, and at least two other executives.

Police in Shanghai, who are leading the investigation, could not be reached for comment.

At the same time as investigating GSK, Chinese authorities are mounting a broader probe into foreign pharmaceutical firms' pricing in the country.

US drugmaker Eli Lilly and France's Sanofi have both come under scrutiny after anonymous whistleblowers cited by Chinese state media claimed that employees paid .

Eli Lilly said it was investigating, while Sanofi said it was taking the claims "seriously".

Explore further: China shuts travel agency in GSK bribery case

Related Stories

China shuts travel agency in GSK bribery case

July 19, 2013

China has shut down a travel agency which served as a conduit for bribes allegedly given by staff of British drug firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the government and state media said.

China launches crackdown on drug industry

July 17, 2013

(AP)—China announced a crackdown Wednesday on misconduct in its drug market, stepping up pressure on the problem-prone industry while it pursues a bribery investigation of GlaxoSmithKline.

Chinese police say Glaxo employees bribed doctors

July 11, 2013

China's police ministry accused executives of pharmaceutical supplier GlaxoSmithKline on Thursday of conducting a large and long-running bribery campaign to persuade doctors to prescribe drugs.

Chinese police probe kickbacks by Foxconn managers

January 10, 2013

(AP)—Hon Hai Precision, a leading maker of iPhones and other high-tech gadgets, has said it is working with Chinese police probing allegations that its employees solicited kickbacks from suppliers.

Recommended for you

Your (social media) votes matter

January 24, 2017

When Tim Weninger conducted two large-scale experiments on Reddit - otherwise known as "the front page of the internet" - back in 2014, the goal was to better understand the ripple effects of malicious voting behavior and ...

Protective wear inspired by fish scales

January 24, 2017

They started with striped bass. Over a two-year period the researchers went through about 50 bass, puncturing or fracturing hundreds of fish scales under the microscope, to try to understand their properties and mechanics ...

'Droneboarding' takes off in Latvia

January 22, 2017

Skirted on all sides by snow-clad pine forests, Latvia's remote Lake Ninieris would be the perfect picture of winter tranquility—were it not for the huge drone buzzing like a swarm of angry bees as it zooms above the solid ...

Singapore 2G switchoff highlights digital divide

January 22, 2017

When Singapore pulls the plug on its 2G mobile phone network this year, thousands of people could be stuck without a signal—digital have-nots left behind by the relentless march of technology.

Making AI systems that see the world as humans do

January 19, 2017

A Northwestern University team developed a new computational model that performs at human levels on a standard intelligence test. This work is an important step toward making artificial intelligence systems that see and understand ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.