Glaxo Employees Held in China on Graft Probe

Glaxo Employees Held in China on Graft Probe

July 1st, 2013 // 12:39 pm @

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GlaxoSmithKline last month told the media that there was an internal investigation occurring to investigate an allegation that some of its sales team in China was bribing physicians to prescribe certain drugs. Now Chinese authorities are detaining three GSK employees, and one of them is a senior finance executive, as part of a widening investigation into graft.

Several senior executives from the GSK office in Changsha are being probed by the police for economic crimes. Also, employees from offices in Shanghai and Beijing are being held as well. But it is not clear if that probe  by the police is related to the investigation by GSK.

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GSK in China has been under a dark cloud for several weeks now. This internal probe is trying to determine if sales reps were giving doctors cash, dinners, speaking fees and paid trips so that they would prescribe various drugs. Sometimes, it is alleged, they were encouraging doctors to prescribe drugs on an off label basis. These allegations were made by a tipster who was anonymous. GSK is also one of the drugmakers that is being investigated in the US for giving bribes to foreign officials. This would be in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

GSK also recently came to the conclusion that a scientific paper in Nature Magazine had faked data and it fired Jingwu Zang, who was one of the authors of the paper. He was a senior VP and the head of research and development in Shanghai. The drugmaker is also trying to get a retraction of that scientific paper. Three other GSK employees were put on administrative leave.

These scandals occurred only a year after Glaxo agreed to pay $3 billion in the United States to wrap up civil and criminal charges that were connected to off label promoting of a number of drugs, and also for not reporting safety data and not reporting accurate prices.

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