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GSK fined $490m for bribing Chinese doctors

October 2014

The UK pharmaceuticals group GlaxoSmithKline has been fined $490m (£300m,€381m) for bribing Chinese doctors, hospitals and government officials to push its products.

The penalty, imposed by a court in Changsha, Hunan province, is the biggest corporate fine ever imposed in China. Mark Reilly, the former head of GSK’s China operation, was given a three-year jail sentence suspended for four years, after which he will be deported.

Four other GSK managers were given similar suspended sentences. The company was estimated to have made $150m in illegal profits from its corrupt activities. GSK has formally apologised to the Chinese government, hospitals, doctors and patients. It said the bribery was “wholly contrary to the values and standards expected from GSK employees”.

Chief executive Sir Andrew Whitty called the offences “deeply disappointing” and said: “We have and will continue to learn from this. GSK has been in China for close to 100 years and we remain fully committed to the country and its people.”

The UK Serious Fraud Office and the US Securities and Exchange Commission and Justice Department are also investigating GSK’s commercial practices. GSK itself is examining claims that its employees bribed doctors in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. 




Asia | Corruption

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