China police say GSK head ordered bribery: state media

China police say GSK head ordered bribery: state media
Changsha police have handed the case over to prosecutors, it added. Last year, Chinese authorities detained four Chinese GSK executives on allegations that employees used nearly $500 million in bribes to boost sales.

BEIJING - Chinese authorities have accused a top GlaxoSmithKline executive of ordering employees to commit bribery, following a 10-month probe into the embattled British drugmaker, state media said on Wednesday.

Police in the central Chinese city of Changsha said that Mark Reilly, GSK's former head of China operations, had "pressed his sales teams to bribe hospitals, doctors and health institutions", gaining billions of dollars in illegal revenue, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Reilly and two other GSK executives, Zhang Guowei and Zhao Hongyan, also allegedly bribed Chinese government officials in Beijing and Shanghai, Xinhua said.

Changsha police have handed the case over to prosecutors, it added. Last year, Chinese authorities detained four Chinese GSK executives on allegations that employees used nearly $500 million in bribes to boost sales.

Police said that company staff had offered bribes to officials and doctors, with physicians allegedly earning a seven to 10 per cent cut from sales of GSK drugs they prescribed, Xinhua previously reported.

GSK staff were also suspected of taking kickbacks from travel agencies to organise conferences, some of which were fake.

China's healthcare sector is widely considered to be riddled with graft, given the opaque tendering system for drugs and doctors' low salaries.

The inquiry was launched at a time when China initiated sweeping probes into alleged malpractice by foreign firms in various sectors, and against the backdrop of an anti-graft campaign backed by President Xi Jinping to root out corrupt officials from the party.

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