China’s Ministry of Public Security yesterday said that it has found employees of drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) bribed doctors and hospitals to prescribe medications.
Employees gave free travel as “large bribes” to doctors, hospitals, foundations and medical associations “to open new sales channels and increase drug revenues,” the ministry said in a statement.
It identified the employees only as “high officials” of Britain-based GSK and gave no details of the size of payments or who received them. It said the investigation took place in Shanghai and the cities of Changsha and Zhengzhou.
“After questioning, the suspects confessed to the crime,” the statement said.
A GSK spokeswoman said it was willing to cooperate with the inquiry, adding: “This is the first official communication GSK has received from the police in relation to the specific nature of its investigation.”
“We take any allegations of bribery and corruption very seriously,” she said in an e-mail to Agence France-Presse, adding that it had found “no evidence of bribery or corruption of doctors or government officials” in China.
Police in Changsha announced two weeks ago that GSK employees had been detained for questioning about unspecified “economic crimes.” GSK said at that time it was cooperating but didn’t know what authorities were investigating.
State media last week reported that the government was investigating production costs for 60 foreign and domestic drug firms.
Additional reporting by AFP