Quite deep it seems..
I have been drawing attention to this for several years, however it’s great to see the mainstream slowly wakening up…
Drugs Scandal: Under the Influence
The well-connected people on the board of GlaxoSmithKline did not stop a series of bribery scandals, writes SOLOMON HUGHES
BBC’s Panorama dedicated last week’s show to exposing how big British drug firms like GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) regularly made bribes and other payments to doctors to encourage them to prescribe their pills.
It was a good show, but didn’t say how deeply the British Establishment was implicated in these corrupt practices.
All the time GSK was involved in the bribery and questionable payments, they were directed by a board that included James Murdoch, son of Rupert, and Chris Gent, a Tory donor and adviser to David Cameron.
As Panorama revealed, GSK is facing charges of bribing doctors to prescribe their medicines in Poland between 2010 and 2012.
As readers of my column know, this is one of many doctor-bribing charges faces by GSK — Chinese authorities accused GSK of using a network of middlemen and travel agents to pay doctors to prescribe their drugs in a £2 billion scheme between 2007 and the present.
GSK admitted some of its Chinese executives had misbehaved. The Chinese case is ongoing.
GSK is also investigating claims that in 2012 it paid 16 state-employed doctors and pharmacists in Iraq to act as sales representatives.
These are all allegations, but there is a very strong reason to believe they are true.
In 2012 GSK agreed to pay a $3 billion (£1.7 billion) fine in the US for the illegal promotion of prescription medicine, including bribing doctors.
The Philadelphia Inquirer bluntly described GSK’s behaviour as “organised crime.” Its scams included entertaining doctors and paying them “advisory fees” to persuade them to prescribe drugs.
GSK also tried to get drugs prescribed for conditions not approved by regulators, like selling anti-depressants as slimming aids.
The charges also included fraudulent pricing of drugs to cheat Medicaid, the US healthcare scheme for the poor.
So the firm itself, and regulators, are taking the Chinese, Polish and Iraqi bribery charges seriously. If it did that kind of thing in the heavily regulated US, it seems likely it would have been as reckless elsewhere.
Fish rot from the head. If GSK was up to no good, its leadership must take responsibility.
This leadership are not anonymous bureacrats, they are men at the heart of the British Establishment.
For the past 10 years Sir Christopher Gent has been chairman of GSK. In 2009 David Cameron announced Gent would sit on the Tory leader’s personal “economic recovery committee.”
Gent is a long-term Tory activist who has given the Conservative Party around £110,000.
From 2009 to 2012 GSK had a new director looking at the firm’s ethics — James Murdoch. Announcing his appointment in February 2009, Sir Chris said he was “delighted to welcome James to the board of GSK.
His experience of global business, marketing and communications will bring a unique and alternative perspective to the board.
“He will also be an excellent addition to the board’s corporate responsibility committee, an area where he has shown particular leadership at BSkyB and News Corporation.”
So thanks to James Murdoch’s ethical leadership at NewsCorp, he was put onto the companies corporate responsibility committee — which would deal with issues of irresponsible behaviour, like, er bribery.
Murdoch quietly slipped off the board in 2012 “to focus on his current duties” at NewsCorp — duties which needed a lot of focus because of the scandal over payments to officials by News International staff.
Last week I said the British establishment was a bit like the Belgian thriller Salamander.
In this TV show, a top cop Paul Gerardi stumbles onto a secret organisation called Salamander, bringing politicians, businessmen and security officials together around a private bank.
A senator’s wife explains that Salamander is “a sort of interest group. They arrange appointments to high office [and] ensure each other’s companies win government contracts.”
The difference between the real Britain and fictional Belgium is our corporations buy friendship with politicians in the open.
Instead of having to run a conspiracy in secret, they just rely on their corporate takeover of politics being ignored.