‘…What we do may turn out to be role models for our children…’
I’m super ambitious about India,”….
“… What I love about India is how quickly the market place is evolving and growing…”
“…The opportunity is vast and we’re going to grab it with both hands…”
(Some Samples Of Screen Shots -Above- From A Twitter Conversation With An ex GSK- Drug rep- Whistle-Blower- from India )
As regular readers of this blog would know, I stopped blogging about GSK 11 weeks ago, after 11 long years of exposing all the various GSK scandals. However, some recent allegations have surfaced which I feel need to be documented. I was contacted by an ex-GSK drug rep from India, who alleges that there is rampant fraudulent activity going on in GSK’s India division. None of this should come as a surprise, considering that GSK are currently under investigation from the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in the UK, and that GSK were fined 3 Billion in the biggest health care fraud in US history in 2012, and also that GSK were caught in a massive bribery scandal in China in 2014.
An ex-GSK drug rep in India contacted me with allegations of similar GSK conduct in India. These allegations are damning for GSK, particularly considering the UK Serious Fraud Office are planning on concluding their investigation of GSK by April this year. These allegations are also scandalous for GSK, because GSK CEO Emma Walmsley visited GSK’s India division not too long ago, and she continues to to project an image of -no tolerance of fraud etc- in that country, and indeed- globally.
Perhaps Emma needs to clean up GSK’s ethical conduct once and for all?
(I wish her luck with that).
“…No rules for GSK management, they’re openly making fun of the law…”
(GSK India Whistle-Blower 2018)
The following is a summary of the corruption allegations in GSK’s India business.
An ex GSK drug rep (turned whistle-blower) told to me this info through a series of mails, messages and conversations over the last week:
(1) The whistle-blower had worked for GSK for almost 7 years, he joined GSK in March 2011, and they dismissed his services on March 2017.
(2) GSK management expected the drug rep to liaise with doctors in order for the doctors to prescribe GSK products. He dealt with many GSK products.
(3) The whistle-blower was expected to detail each doctor he liaised with for each day.
(4) His area manager was asking for personal favors and he wanted the rep to give him money (back-handers). For example: he wanted the rep to pay the school fees of his children (the whistle-blower has screenshots- proof)- and his rent- from the rep’s salary. The rep pleaded that it was ‘not in the culture of GSK’ to pay back-handers to area managers- and that he worked for GSK and not the area manager. The manager was relentless in his pursuit of these backhanders, often harassing the rep whenever he chose.
The rep/whistle-blower refused to pay backhanders and engage in fraud, and because of this he was harassed, bullied and eventually set up with false charges- which led to his termination. The regional managercolluded with the area manager in order to quash the whistle-blower. It also seems he has been blacklisted from working in other pharmaceutical companies in India. When he first contacted me with his story, he said “all I want is my job back”. I told him that it is common for GSK to blacklist whistle-blowers and oppress the allegations of whistle-blowers and that there is little chance that he will get his job back. GSK have not paid this whistle-blowers salary for 2 months, and the area manager deliberately didn’t approve his monthly expenses for 6 months ( both of which seems to be part of his punishment for speaking out).
Is this standard procedure in how GSK treats those who draw attention to fraud, bribery and corruption?
The Whistle-Blower also says that he emailed country head Ronald Sequiera along with Annaswamy Vaidheesh -and again nothing has been done.
From my 11 years of documenting GSK, I believe that these allegations are true, and also I have had conversations with the US whistle-blower Greg Thorpe over the years, and it seems that whistle-blowers are all treated appallingly by GSK. Instead of supporting them when they highlight fraud and corruption, it seems GSK sets out to do the opposite.
(5) GSK said that the drug rep did a false report (they claim he said he visited a doc but the doc was out of town- a sack-able offense), however these charges were false, his manager had prepared a report in order to frame the whistle-blower with a false letter-head (the whistle-blower has proof of this as he brought the false letter to a handwriting expert and the expert verified the fraud). I have seen documents supporting the whistleblower’s claim here, and in the cases of the other allegations. I have no reason to doubt his claims.
(6) The Whistle-blower has prepared a legal defense, and is pursuing his claims through India’s labor court. India’s labour court is slow, however he is hoping that justice will be served.
(7) One of the more disturbing allegations this Indian whistle-blower told me about is the violation of drug samples in India. Basically, the samples- which are supposed to be going to doctors- are not going to doctors at all- because drug reps are selling the samples on the black market. The whistle-blower has shown me proof of this. When he was a drug rep he alerted GSK to this, and he also forwarded the evidence to CEO Emma Walmsley, however not only did he receive no response, but also- she took no action whatsoever about the allegations. It seems that GSK’s zero corruption policy mantra, is just that – a meaningless marketing mantra.
The Violation Of Drug Samples And Black Market Selling In GSK India
One example of these samples is Betnovate N. The whistle-blower alleges that the company deliberately does not supply it adequately to the market and because of shortages prices go sky high and that area and regional managers collaborate with dealers taking money from them. He says that this kind of thing is very common in GSK India.
The Indian rep making these allegations against GSK – has worked under both CEO’s Andrew Witty and Emma Walmsley. He has pleaded with upper management about the ethical violations many times, yet nothing has been done to support him. In fact- the opposite has occurred. The whistle-blower has been set up, terminated, his concerns ignored, and he has been blacklisted. This has had a massively detrimental effect upon him, his family and his personal and professional life.
He also emailed Andrew Witty and Emma Walmsley, Ronald Sequeira (GSK’s India Head), and Annaswamay Vaidheesh about the samples violations but nothing has been done. He first reported samples violations in December 2016 (I have seen the documented evidence of this), however- again- nothing has been done.
How are drug reps expected to help GSK stamp out fraud, bribery and other corrupt practices, when their area managers and regional managers openly flaunt the law of India? and also when the management collude to fabricate false evidence to undermine whistle-blowers? Why do Andrew Witty and Emma Walmsley not reply to whistle-blower’s complaints?
The whistle-blower also sent me details of his dealings with GSK’s Jason Lord.
Jason Lord was (apparently) Andrew Witty’s right hand man- sent out to contain corruption allegations in various areas of GSK’s global business. Jason Lord has been questioned by the SFO in relation to its ongoing investigation into GSK. Myself, and Bob Fiddaman (another GSK/Seroxat Blogger). wrote a post about that (see) here.
It seems that Jason Lord also failed to support this whistle-blower in his attempts to shine a light on serious allegations of bribery, fraud and corruption in India? one would have to wonder, if he doesn’t help whistle-blowers then what is Jason Lord hired to do?
GSK had an internal inquiry on some of the whistle-blowers allegations, however from what he has told me, this process itself was (is) corrupt. It was not an internal inquiry at all, in this so called ‘inquiry’ – the management closed shop, notes were not taken properly, the process was corrupted, and they threatened him throughout with abusive language (-he has recordings of this disgraceful treatment)
Understandably, this has been extremely distressing for the whistle-blower.
The allegations reported here, are the tip of the iceberg for GSK in India. This whistle-blower has been treated appallingly, and something needs to be done.
perhaps the serious fraud office in the UK would be interested in finding out more?
Also, if there are any journalists reading this, please contact me on : firstname.lastname@example.org
And of course, the mailbox is always open to more whistle-blowers stories…
(now back to my ‘blog-break’.. in the meantime- Press/Journos- do your job!)
Note: The whistle-blower had no problem being named (fully) in this blog-post but I advised him not to reveal it for the time being as I believe that GSK, and some of those hired by GSK- are dangerous people.