GSK Crimes All In The Past?..


http://vimeo.com/75479854

This film asks if we can rest easy with Stephen Whitehead’s assurance that “Big Pharma” corruption is all in the past? Mr Whitehead has repeatedly insisted that this is the case. Stephen Whitehead is head of the ABPI (the organisation behind the ABPI “code”). This code has had quite a lot of criticism: bmj.com/content/344/bmj.e2910 and bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f770

Apart from Stephen Whitehead, the names to note are: Chris Viehbacker and Jean Pierre Garnier. All three seem to be doing quite well for themselves despite this £3 billion lawsuit. This has to be terribly wrong?

 

The BMJ Today: GSK and paying doctors to speak on its behalf


http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2014/04/15/the-bmj-today-gsk-and-paying-doctors-to-speak-on-its-behalf/

15 Apr, 14 | by BMJ

Deborah CohenOn 17 December last year, UK pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline, made a bold pledge. From 2016, the company said, it will stop paying doctors to speak on its behalf or to attend conferences to end undue influence on prescribers.

Not only that, drug reps were no longer going to be paid according to the number of prescriptions they solicited from the doctors they saw. The announcement drew both plaudits and scepticism.

The BMJ’s editor, Fiona Godlee, praised the move. “Where GSK leads we must hope that other companies will follow. But there is a long way to go if we are truly to extricate medicine from commercial influence.”

But Richard Vautry, GP and a member of the BMA’s Council, was slightly more circumspect about their rationale. GSK’s move, he told the WSJ, “may be a sign that companies recognize that the investment now made in that direction doesn’t influence doctors in terms of their prescribing.” He added: “It’s probably a business decision rather than for any other reasons.”

GSK have not just been at the vanguard of removing sales targets, they were the first drug company to publicly state their commitment towards greater clinical data transparency by signing up to the AllTrials campaign.

The actions partly led to a feature in The BMJ profiling GSK’s CEO, Andrew Witty. It ran with the title: “Andrew Witty: the acceptable face of big pharma?”

To some extent they have honoured their word so far: in the past year, they have released their clinical study reports on their influenza drug zanamivir (Relenza) to the Cochrane collaboration for systematic review—the results of which were published last week.

This, by all accounts, was no mean feat. Patrick Vallance, GSK’s president of pharmaceuticals research and development, told The BMJ: “These are studies going back a long way, stored in all sorts of different parts, in all sorts of different places. People don’t expect to have to go and pull out everything again.” GSK estimates 15 to 20 people worked on the file part time over three years.

Not everyone is convinced by their public show of goodwill. In his regular column, Sidney Wolfe, founder and senior adviser in the Health Research Group at Public Citizen, in Washington analysed all civil and criminal penalties paid to the US federal and state governments by pharmaceutical companies from January 1991 through 18 July 2012.

“GSK topped the list of repeat offenders with total criminal and civil penalties of $7.56bn since 1991, comprised six different federal settlements and an additional number with states,” he wrote.

But it seems as though bad news follows the company as they try to build its image. Following investigations in China and Iraq, Shelley Jofre, BBC Panorama correspondent,has found that GSK is under investigation in Poland for allegedly bribing doctors there.

In a feature, she writes that it’s alleged that GSK sales reps in the region of Lodz, Poland’s third largest city, paid doctors as recently as 2012 to boost prescriptions of some of the company’s best known drugs.

A spokesman for the Lodz public prosecutor’s office, Krzysztof Kopania, said that one GSK regional manager and 11 doctors have been charged in connection with corruption allegations for offences committed in 2010-12.

In response, GSK said: “Following receipt of allegations regarding the conduct of the programme in the Lodz region, GSK has investigated the matter, using resources from both inside and outside the company,” the company added. “The investigation found evidence of inappropriate communication in contravention of GSK policy by a single employee. The employee concerned was reprimanded and disciplined as a result. We continue to investigate these matters and are co-operating fully with the CBA [the anti-corruption bureau in Poland].”

Whilst such problems arise, GSK’s ability to shake off past reputation and build one of trust and scientific integrity, might be made that bit tougher.

Deborah Cohen is investigations editor, The BMJ.

GSK Bribery Scandals : How About Just Saying Sorry?


GSK are now embroiled in three bribery scandals: in China, Iraq and Poland

Saying ‘sorry‘ goes a long long way…

But it doesn’t seem to be part of GSK’s vocabulary…

GSK

 

GlaxoSmithKline Corruption Of Doctors: “No Smoke Without Fire”


http://www.scotsman.com/news/comment-gsk-probe-cupid-stake-sale-1-3376155

 

Comment: GSK probe | Cupid stake sale

 

Martin Flanagan

  • by MARTIN FLANAGAN

BIG Pharma and improper sales and marketing behaviour related to pushing its drugs is not exactly rare. Along with the defence sector and the banks, the drugs sector is one of the industries that seems to attract allegations of dodgy behaviour too often to make it comfortable, whether eventually proven or not.

Mud sticks in the public mind. The latest major pharmaceuticals group in the firing line is GlaxoSmithKline, which is facing a criminal investigation in Poland for allegedly bribing doctors to push its asthma drug, Seretide.

GSK’s embarrassment is compounded by previous allegations of corrupt behaviour in China and Iraq. The Polish allegations were the subject of a BBC Panorama documentary Who’s Paying Your Doctor?, which aired last night.

If the new allegations are proven, GSK risks having contravened both the UK’s Bribery Act and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

For its part, the company has said its own internal investigation into the matter found that one employee had behaved inappropriately in promoting Seretide, had been reprimanded and disciplined, and that it was co-operating fully with Poland’s anti-corruption bureau.

Panorama said that 11 doctors and a GSK regional manager have been charged with alleged corruption between 2010 and 2012.

Without pre-judging any possible outcomes, it is hardly strange when such allegations surface given that Big Pharma and its international reps deal daily with thousands of doctors.

Rather damningly, a Reuters examination in 2012 of regulatory filings by the world’s biggest ten drugs companies found that eight had warned of potential costs related to charges of bribery in overseas markets.

Like the food chain in the supermarket sector, there is only so much that head office can do to ensure that all the vast tentacles of a global business operation is operating completely legally and ethically. Even so, it is little wonder that in GSK’s case its share price wobbled somewhat yesterday.

Against the big canvas of its operations, the Polish events are pretty insignificant. But the last thing that a major pharma player wants is a reputation for “previous” in this vexed area. Chinese authorities have accused GSK and its reps of giving a massive 3 billion yuan (£289 million) to doctors and officials to encourage them to use its medicines.

Last week, the company also admitted it was investigating allegations of bribery in Iraq. Above all, GSK, along with its peers, does not want an insidious creep of “no smoke without fire” developing in investor and public sentiment towards it.

In terms of overseas selling practices by GSK, one investigation is embarrassing, three invites serious concerns.

Of Course GSK Will Deny They Have A “Systemic Corruption” Problem!..


Last updated: April 14, 2014 4:31 pm

GSK denies systemic corruption problem after fresh allegations

A GlaxoSmithKline logo is seen outside one of its buildings in west London, February 6, 2008©Reuters

GlaxoSmithKline has denied that it has a systemic problem with corruption after fresh bribery allegations against the company emerged in Poland.

The UK drugmaker said it had disciplined an employee in connection with claims that it bribed Polish doctors to promote its asthma drug Seretide.

This followed the revelation last week that GSK was investigating alleged improper practices in Iraq and nine months after Chinese authorities launched a bribery probe against the company.

The Polish case, highlighted by the BBC’s Panorama programme on Monday, shows how GSK has become a lightning rod for scrutiny of illicit practices in the drugs industry since it was accused of funnelling $500m to Chinese doctors and officials.

GSK said it took all such cases seriously but insisted they did not represent a pattern of wrongdoing.

It said the Polish case dated back to 2011 and involved an individual regional sales manager who had since been “reprimanded and disciplined”.

According to Panorama, 11 doctors and one GSK manager have been charged by Poland’s anti-corruption agency over alleged bribery between 2010 and 2012.

Jamie Cartwright, a lawyer at Charles Russell, a law firm, said allegations of bribery in an EU country could catch the attention of authorities in the US and UK, which both have powers to prosecute companies for overseas corruption.

“In Iraq and maybe even China there is perhaps a recognition of the difficult local conditions, but in Poland a company would be expected to uphold the same standards as in any other EU country,” said Mr Cartwright.

In the BBC documentary, Jarek Wisniewski, a former GSK sales representative in the Polish region of Lodz, is quoted as saying: “There is a simple equation . . . we pay doctors, they give us prescriptions. We don’t pay doctors, we don’t see prescriptions for our drugs.

“We cannot go to doctors and say to them, ‘I need 20 more prescriptions’. So we prepare an agreement for them to give a talk to patients, we pay £100, but we expect more than 100 prescriptions for this drug. It’s a bribe,” Mr Wisniewski adds.

GSK said on Monday it had found “evidence of inappropriate communication in contravention of GSK policy by a single employee”.

Lombard on GSK

Jonathan Guthrie

A ‘zero tolerance policy’ towards impropriety by employees is easier to maintain if you are only dimly aware what they are up to, writes Jonathan Guthrie.

Continue reading

“We continue to investigate these matters and are co-operating fully with [Polish authorities].”

In its latest annual report, GSK revealed that 161 violations of sales and marketing practices were reported in 2013, with 48 people leaving the company as a result.

This is similar to other drugmakers, including AstraZeneca, the Anglo-Swedish company, which reported 149 such cases, and Roche of Switzerland, which declared 136.

GSK last December announced an overhaul of its marketing operations to remove individual sales targets from its representatives and to stop paying doctors to attend medical conferences and make speeches on the company’s behalf.

On Monday the company said: “We agree there is a need to modernise interactions between the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare professionals to ensure patients’ interests are always put first and to eliminate even a perception of a conflict of interest.”

GSK Now Faces Bribery Allegations In Poland (BBC Panorama)



First China, Then Iraq...
Now Poland..

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26970873

UK drug company GSK ‘paid bribes to Polish doctors’

Glaxo logo

Related Stories

UK drug company GlaxoSmithKline is facing a criminal investigation in Poland for allegedly bribing doctors, BBC Panorama has discovered.

Eleven doctors and a GSK regional manager have been charged over alleged corruption between 2010 and 2012.

An former sales rep said doctors were paid to promote GSK’s asthma drug Seretide.

The company said one employee had been disciplined and it was co-operating with investigations.

If the allegations are proved, GSK may have violated both the UK Bribery Act and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. It is illegal for companies based in either country to bribe government employees abroad.

‘Financial gains’

A former sales rep for GSK in the Polish region of Lodz, Jarek Wisniewski, said: “There is a simple equation,” he said. “We pay doctors, they give us prescriptions. We don’t pay doctors, we don’t see prescriptions for our drugs.

“We cannot go to doctors and say to them, ‘I need 20 more prescriptions’. So we prepare an agreement for them to give a talk to patients, we pay £100, but we expect more than 100 prescriptions for this drug.

“It’s a bribe,” Mr Wisniewski said, confirming that although on paper the payments were for educational services, the doctors understood very clearly that they must produce a certain number of prescriptions in return.

Panorama: Find out more

BBC Panorama logo
  • Panorama – Who’s Paying Your Doctor?
  • BBC One, Monday, 14 April, at 20:30 BST

The Lodz public prosecutor found evidence in documents given to doctors by GSK to support claims of corrupt payments in more than a dozen different health centres where there was no evidence “patient education” had taken place.

Spokesman Krzysztof Kopania said: “We have evidence that in more than a dozen cases it was a camouflaged form of a bribe.

“In return for the financial gains the doctors would favour the product proposed by the pharmaceutical company and they prescribed that medicine.”

One doctor has already admitted guilt, been fined and given a suspended sentence. He said he accepted £100 for a single lecture he never gave, but only under pressure from a GSK drugs rep.

He told Panorama: “They kept tempting, and I am just a man.”

Reprimanded and disciplined

The company said a GSK training programme to help improve diagnostic standards and medical training in respiratory disease was run by doctors in Poland from 2010 to 2012.

A statement said: “These sessions were delivered by specialist healthcare professionals who, based on contracts signed with GSK, received payments appropriate to the scope of work as well as their level of knowledge and experience. The provision of sessions under this programme was agreed with the Polish healthcare centres.

“Following receipt of allegations regarding the conduct of the programme in the Lodz region, GSK has investigated the matter, using resources from both inside and outside the company. The investigation found evidence of inappropriate communication in contravention of GSK policy by a single employee. The employee concerned was reprimanded and disciplined as a result.

“We continue to investigate these matters and are co-operating fully with the CBA [Poland's Central Anticorruption Office].”

In 2012, GSK paid $3bn (£1.9bn) in the largest healthcare fraud settlement in US history after pleading guilty to promoting two drugs for unapproved uses and failing to report safety data about a diabetes drug to the Food and Drug Administration.

Last December, the company announced it was making major changes to its incentive schemes after a damaging corruption scandal in China.

The Chinese Ministry of Public Security has claimed that between 2007 and 2010 GSK funnelled three billion Chinese yuan (£300m) through travel agencies.

It said it would end direct payments to doctors for promotional talks and stop setting individual targets for its sales reps as part of a wider effort to improve transparency.

Panorama: Who’s Paying Your Doctor?, BBC One, Monday, 14 April at 20:30 BST and then available in the UK on the BBC iPlayer.

GlaxoSmithKline Plc is facing a criminal investigation in Poland for allegedly bribing doctors to promote its asthma drug Seretide, BBC Panorama reported on Sunday.

The BBC reported that 11 doctors and a GSK regional manager have been charged over alleged corruption between 2010 and 2012.

“The investigation found evidence of inappropriate communication in contravention of GSK policy by a single employee. The employee concerned was reprimanded and disciplined as a result,” the drugmaker was quoted as saying.

GSK could not be reached immediately outside regular working hours.

According to the BBC, one doctor has admitted guilt and has been fined and given a suspended sentence.

GSK, Britain’s biggest drugmaker, was accused by Chinese authorities in July of funnelling up to 3 billion yuan to doctors and officials to encourage them to use its medicines in a case that rocked the pharmaceuticals industry.

Copyright: Thomson Reuters 2014

http://profit.ndtv.com/news/corporates/article-gsk-faces-bribery-investigation-in-poland-report-385466

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/drugs-giant-glaxosmithkline-bribed-doctors-to-boost-sales-says-whistleblower-9257850.html

Britain’s biggest drug company, GlaxoSmithKline, allegedly bribed doctors in Poland using money that was meant to be spent on educating patients, according to new evidence revealed today by the BBC Panorama programme.

A GSK whistleblower claims that money put aside to teach patients in Poland about an asthma drug, Seretide, actually went towards paying doctors to prescribe more of the medicine.

Jarek Wisniewiski, who was with the company for eight years until 2012, worked on a marketing programme across the country in 2010 to push the asthma drug.

He told Panorama that although officially the money was to be spent on medical training, in reality it was used to bribe doctors to boost the company’s sales.

“I pay for education and in the same meeting I said that I need more prescriptions for Seretide. So… they knew exactly what I pay for,” he said. “We pay agreement for a speech; we pay £100 but we expect more than 100 prescriptions for this drug.”

Mr Wisniewiski says he told GSK that he was unhappy with the arrangement – an admission that he says resulted in him being sidelined at work and eventually sacked.

Another former employee, who did not want to be identified, confirmed that the company paid doctors for lectures that never happened but which would result in a greater number of prescriptions.

A criminal investigation has been launched, and 11 doctors and one GSK regional manager have been charged. The public prosecutor’s office in Lodz has examined the contracts that doctors were given by GSK, and says that it has found evidence to support claims of corrupt payments.

A spokesman said: “We have evidence to claim that in more than a dozen cases it was a camouflaged form of a bribe.In return for the financial gain, the doctors would favour the product proposed by the pharmaceutical company, and they prescribed that medicine.”

GSK sells some of the world’s best-known medicines and has an annual turnover of more than £26bn. However, allegations of bribery have hounded the company in recent months. The most recent claims come just a week after reports that GSK hired Iraqi government doctors and pharmacists to act as sales representatives for the Brentford-based company, to boost revenues for its medicines.

The company is also waiting to find out whether it will face prosecution in China following claims it paid £300m to doctors and government officials there.

The company’s Chinese sales plummeted by 61 per cent in the third quarter of last year, and 18 per cent in the final quarter, after its offices were raided by Chinese police and its staff arrested.

The allegations have not been established but if found to be true, GSK may have violated both the UK’s Bribery Act and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. In both countries it is illegal for companies operating there to bribe government employees abroad.

In response to Panorama’s questions about the case, GSK confirmed that it had run a programme in Poland from 2010 to 2012 to help improve diagnostic standards and medical training for the benefit of patients with respiratory disease.

GSK says it is investigating the allegations. A chief executive has stated that the company has “zero tolerance” with respect to the issues raised in the allegations and is co-operating fully with investigators.