A truly fascinating read regarding the corruption in China, all committed by the hand of British based pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline.
The New York Times (NYT) recently ran a superb article regarding GSK’s nefarious activities in China, activities that saw them plead guilty, a result of which saw them being handed down a $500 million dollar fine.
The article by David Barboza, although brilliant, is tantalizing, in as much that The Times claims to have in its possession emails and documents, none of which they have provided, at least in their entirety.
The China scandal is a story of greed, corruption, cover-ups, bribery and pay-offs, all combined with a sex scandal video and a company burying it’s head in the sand over its China practices – preferring instead to go after the person who blew the whistle on the whole sordid affair.
It’s a subject I covered many times on this blog (Links at the foot of this post) and one that seems to be rehashed with additions on a regular basis.
The Times article throws out some very interesting facts about the case that were previously kept under wraps – one such fact being that they (The Times) have evidence that “Glaxo “almost killed one patient by illegally marketing its drug Lamictal,” said the email, which was obtained by The Times. “GSK China bought the patient’s silence for $9,000.””
Glaxo buying a patient’s silence? Surely not?
There was me thinking they only did that in litigation, Paxil withdrawal (Over 3,000 patients ‘paid off’) – Paxil Birth defects (Over 800 patients ‘paid off’)
So, who was the patient in receipt of Glaxo’s $9,000, moreover, what did this patient have that GSK didn’t want others to see?
According to the NYT…
The email was one of nearly two dozen that the whistle-blower sent over the course of 17 months to Chinese regulators, Glaxo executives and the company’s auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers.
In 2012 Glaxo plead guilty to a whole host of violations throughout America, the guilty plea resulted in a record breaking fine of $3 billion. At the time, Glaxo Chief, Andrew Witty, pledged, “We’re determined this is never going to happen again.”
Witty, who had been made aware of the unfolding stench in China shortly after the 2012 guilty plea in the US, is stepping down from his CEO position in April next year – It’s quite a legacy he has left behind, one which he took over from former Chief, JP Garnier who, in essence, oversaw the corruption in America and left Witty to suck up the fallout.
What an abhorrent company this is. Corruption, bribery (of officials and patients) and the manufacturer of prescription meds that have either killed people or disfigured them in such a way that they need to continue having surgery for the rest of their lives. Let’s not forget those that have suffered as a result of becoming addicted to GSK’s medications either.
The Times article also digs deeper into the involvement of Mark Reilly, who, at the time, was Head of GSK’s China operations. They claim…
An email alleged that Mr. Reilly, a British national who had helped manage the company’s China operation for four years, was complicit in a bribery scheme tied to a travel agency called China Comfort Travel, or C.C.T. According to the email, Glaxo funneled money through the travel agency to pay off doctors. The travel agency also supplied Mr. Reilly with women, as a way to secure that business.
“In order to acquire more business, C.C.T. bribed Mark Reilly, the general manager of GSK (China) with sex,” the email said. “Mark Reilly accepted this bribery and made C.C.T. get the maximized benefits in return.”
That’s some perk to have! China Comfort Travel bring a whole new meaning to the word ‘comfort’.
Any jobs going whereby the employer offers a bonus of playing hide the salami?
I’m sure red-blooded males would have been first in-line for such a job working for a company complicit in fraudulent activities. Sadly, for those red-blooded males at least, Reilly was offered (and took) the perk – I wonder if he claimed for the 15 minutes of overtime too? (Assuming that Reilly could last that long in the sack)
When faced with over 17 months of emails from the whistleblower Glaxo decided to seek help, they did so by hiring a private investigator, Peter Humphrey and his wife, Yu Yingzeng.
Humphrey did some digging and, at the time, provided information to Glaxo that pointed to the possible whistleblower. Vivian Shi, was a 47-year-old executive handling government affairs in Glaxo’s Shanghai office, I say former because she was previously fired by GSK for their belief (Before Humphrey was hired) that she was behind the whistleblowing allegations. The ‘official’ line of her dismissal was that she had been falsifying travel expenses.
Humphrey, it appears, was merely suggesting that Shi may have been involved – he, at no time, ever provided GSK with any evidence that their former executive was the one who was whistleblowing. Shi, who remember had already left GSK, denied any part in the whole Chinagate scandal.
During his investigations Humphrey obtained information that was deemed to be by false means according to Chinese officials. Both he and his wife were later arrested, charged then sent to prison. Meantime, Reilly, who was the mastermind of the whole scam, was sent back home to the UK – No jail time. It’s unknown what Reilly is doing today, presumably he doesn’t work for GSK in any capacity, although I wouldn’t put it past them to re-hire him, just as they did with Vivian Shi, the very person they had fired because they thought she was the one blowing the whistle on its Chinese operations.
Remarkably, GSK re-hired Shi last year, although it is unclear in what capacity. (See Glaxo and Former Whistleblower Suspect Reunite)
GSK must be a truly great company to work for, not only do they offer, by proxy, free blowjobs to heads of operations but they re-hire you after previously sacking you for, ahem, “falsifying travel expenses.”
The Times article is a must read and once again highlights how GSK prefer to target people who bring the company’s misdemeanors to their attention rather than target the person carrying out the misdemeanors.
GSK Corporate motto claims, “We are dedicated to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better, live longer.” – I just never knew this included blowjobs via complicit bribery deals – the re-hiring after breaking rules – and buying patients silence.
Nice job (blow) Glaxo!