Glaxo denies China ministry bribery claims

GLAXOSMITHKLINE (GSK) yesterday denied claims by Chinese authorities that it had offered bribes in the country, after China’s security ministry said executives had confessed to charges of bribery and tax law violations.

Bribes were offered to Chinese government officials, medical associations, hospitals and doctors to boost sales and prices, the ministry said in a statement on its website yesterday. GSK executives also used fake receipts in unspecified tax law violations, it added.

The statement did not give details on the number of GSK executives questioned, their identities or when the questioning took place. In response to the ministry’s charges, GSK said it is willing to cooperate with authorities.

China in recent months has targeted foreign firms on multiple fronts including alleged price-fixing, quality controls and consumer rights.

Under China’s legal system, the GSK executives will be formally charged after the completion of the preliminary investigations.

“We take all allegations of bribery and corruption seriously,” GSK said in its statement. “We continuously monitor our businesses to ensure they meet our strict compliance procedures – we have done this in China and found no evidence of bribery or corruption of doctors or government officials.”

The company declined to comment on the number or nationality of staff involved.