Bribery by GSK China was coordinated at company level- Xinhua

Bribery by GSK China was coordinated at company level- Xinhua
A Chinese national flag flutters in front of a GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) office building in Shanghai July 12, 2013

SHANGHAI - A Chinese police investigation into drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline has discovered that alleged bribery of doctors in China was coordinated by the British company and was not the work of individual employees, state media reported on Tuesday.

Police in July detained four senior Chinese executives at GSK over allegations the company funnelled up to 3 billion yuan (S$626.44 million) to travel agencies to facilitate bribes to doctors and officials to boost the sale of its medicines.

"It is becoming clear that it is organised by GSK China rather than ... sales people's individual behaviour," the official Xinhua news agency reported.

GSK officials could not be reached for comment.

The company has said some of its senior Chinese executives appear to have broken the law, and that it has zero tolerance for bribery.

The GSK investigation is one of several into China's pharmaceutical sector. Others have focused on how drugmakers price their medicines in the world's second-largest economy.

Xinhua quoted Huang Hong, general manager for GSK's business operations in China and one of the detained executives, as saying the company had set goals for annual sales growth as high as 25 per cent. That rate was 7 to 8 percentage points above the average growth rate for the industry, Huang said.

GSK implemented salary policies based on sales volumes and such goals could not be achieved without "dubious corporate behaviour", Huang said.

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