How Glaxo Feeds Its Doctors..


https://www.bmj.com/content/363/bmj.k4157

“…GSK’s 2013 ban on paying doctors came amid a major bribery investigation in China, which landed it with a record fine, and was part of an effort by former chief executive Andrew Witty to improve the company’s reputation.

There was speculation at the time that other companies would be forced to follow suit, but in the event that did not happen.

Witty was replaced as CEO in 2017 by Emma Walmsley, who has brought a sharp commercial focus to operations, including a drive to reallocate resources to priority new medicines.

In addition to payments for speaking engagements, the updated GSK policy also allows for reasonable travel costs for medics to attend company-organized meetings – except in the United States – and registration fees for remote congress webinars and webcasts….”


Interesting case from 2011 (see below) involving drug reps suing Glaxo for overtime. This document gives a good insight into the culture of GSK at this time. Timely piece, considering Glaxo have decided to backtrack on their promises not to pay physicians to speak for the company (I wonder did Emma Walmsley make that decision?). Obviously profits must always come before ethics with Glaxo- we couldn’t have it any other way with them could we?

Basically this kind of thing is legalized bribery, that’s the job of a drug rep- to legally bribe/persuade a doctor to prescribe Glaxo drugs over competitors. Glaxo has everyone bribed (legally). From the key opinion leaders in the psychiatric profession- through money for talks etc (and every other medical specialty), to universities (sponsorship of research/bursaries, academic departments), lawfirms (glaxo spends billions on legal fees, and it has a legal war chest that can crush anyone and often it does – see Eric Holder fiasco), regulators (revolving door between industry and FDA/MHRA – see Ian Hudson fiasco), Charities (Well Child etc), many lords, and MP’s, and other high level business elites have stocks and shares in Glaxo (vested interests at high levels), the media (sponsorship of journalists prizes for pro-industry slanted articles etc- see Ben Goldacre fiasco).

The list is endless. The Pharmaceutical industry has every facet bought. They have endless cash reserves to bribe every corner of society.

Utterly corrupt.

Anyhow, here’s snippets from the document (click on the link for full read):

 

 


https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1555802.html

PSRs also try to build business relationships with physicians, respond to their concerns, and recruit them to attend Glaxo-organized dinners and conventions.

PSRs usually work outside of a Glaxo office and spend much of their time traveling to the offices of, and working with, physicians within their assigned geographic territories. Plaintiffs visited between eight and ten physicians each day, usually between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Plaintiffs claim that they worked between ten and twenty hours each week outside of normal business hours, for which they received no overtime wages. When not making calls on physicians, Plaintiffs studied Glaxo products and relevant disease states, prepared new presentation modules, answered phone calls, checked email, generated reports, and attended events on evenings and weekends.

Before a PSR makes his or her daily calls, Glaxo provides him or her with detailed reports about the physicians he or she will visit. These reports include information about a physician’s prescribing habits and drug preferences, the market volume of Glaxo products prescribed by the physician versus the volume of competitor products, and the volume of prescriptions filled in a particular region. Glaxo also provides each PSR with a budget to use for speaker programs and to engage socially with physicians.

Glaxo prepares and provides information about its products-called “Core Messages”-for PSRs to present to physicians during calls. Core Messages include information about product benefits and risks, dosage instructions, and the types of patients for whom Glaxo recommends each product. Glaxo expects PSRs to use the Core Messages and then “[d]evelop and deliver informative sales presentations based on customer needs.”

Plaintiffs received two types of pay-salary and incentive-based compensation. Incentive-based compensation is paid if Glaxo’s market share for a particular product increases in a PSR’s territory, sales volume for a product increases, sales revenue increases, or the dose volume increases. Glaxo aims to have a PSR’s total compensation be approximately 75% salary and 25% incentive compensation.4 However, the dollar value of incentive-based compensation is uncapped.

 

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What Became Of The FBI’s Investigation Of GSK In Poland?


http://www.ceeinsight.net/2014/04/16/fbi-assist-polish-gsk-case/

The FBI will assist Poland’s Central Anticorruption Office (CBA) in the case of UK pharmaceuticals company GlaxoSmithKline, which is suspected of bribing Polish doctors, the Polish business daily Puls Biznesu wrote April 16.

“The GKS corruption case, which has been under investigation by the CBA and Lodz prosecutor’s office since 2012 and currently includes 13 suspects, will receive assistance from the FBI,” said Pawel Wojtunik, head of the CBA.

US regulations oblige the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to initiate proceedings when suspicions of corruption arise at companies listed on US stock exchanges. This may play an important role as the case develops, especially if GSK were found to have breached the Foreign and Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

As reported by CEE Inisght, GSK sales reps had offered bribes to doctors from Lodz in return for prescriptions for GSK drugs between 2010 and 2012.

Glaxo Consumer Health Unit is Linked to a US Probe In 2012


10:18 am ET
Sep 9, 2014

REGULATORY

Glaxo Consumer Health Unit is Linked to a US Probe In 2012

Reuters

For the past year, the GlaxoSmithKlinebribery scandal in China has centered on its pharmaceutical business, but newly reviewed documents indicate the drug maker became aware of compliance issues in its consumer health care business as early as 2012, according toReuters.

Glaxo confirmed that it conducted an internal investigation into procurement practices in the consumer unit in China, the news service writes. Although the drug maker tells Reuters there was no sign of “unethical conduct,” it did find “some non-compliance with our procurement procedures.” Glaxo says the inquiry was unrelated to a Chinese criminal investigation into corruption in its pharmaceutical division, which was made public last year.

The investigation focused on specific people and suppliers in China – including some employees, academics and education institutes – and was related to a U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Securities Exchange Commission inquiry into possible violationsof the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, according to Reuters. The law targets illegal payments to foreign government officials used to boost sales.

The news service, which wrote that it reviewed three internal Glaxo notices, stressed that the documents do not amount to evidence of wrongdoing by Glaxo or its business partners. The notices were sent by Glaxo lawyers to employees and e-mailed to senior Glaxo staff in China, according to Reuters, which adds that the drug maker has since cut ties with some suppliers.

A Glaxo spokesman tells Reuters that the notices “related to allegations around adherence to procurement policies within our Chinese consumer healthcare business. We investigated using resources inside and outside the company, and did not find evidence of unethical conduct, but did identify some non-compliance with our procurement procedures and remedial action was taken.”

The disclosure raises questions about Glaxo operations in China that had not previously been in the public spotlight. The drug maker, you may recall, has been coping with turmoil ever since bribery allegations surfaced in China, which is a large and growing market not just for Glaxo, but the entire pharmaceutical industry.

As reported previously, Chinese authorities recently accused the former head of Glaxo operations in China of ordering subordinates, his sales team and other employees to bribe hospitals, health care organizations and others. Separately, the drug maker said it is investigating claims that its employees bribed doctors in Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.

Glaxo has previously acknowledged that some of its Chinese executives may have broken the law, but has maintained there is “zero tolerance” for bribery. We asked Glaxo for comment about this latest report and will update you accordingly.

GSK Corruption Allegations Spreads To Syria


Exclusive – Allegations of GSK corruption spread to Syria

LONDON Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:51pm BST

The GlaxoSmithKline building is pictured in Hounslow, west London June 18, 2013. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

The GlaxoSmithKline building is pictured in Hounslow, west London June 18, 2013.

GlaxoSmithKline PLC
GSK.L
1,469.50p
-12.00-0.81%
16:06:23 BST

(Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) faces new allegations of corruption, this time in Syria, where the drugmaker and its distributor have been accused of paying bribes to secure business, according to a whistleblower’s email reviewed by Reuters.

Britain’s biggest drugmaker said on Thursday it was investigating the latest claims dating back to 2010, which were laid out in the email received by the company on July 18.

The allegations relate to its former consumer healthcare operations in Syria, which were closed down in 2012 due to the worsening civil war in the country.

“We have zero tolerance for any kind of unethical behaviour. We will thoroughly investigate all the claims made in this email,” GSK said in a statement.

GSK has been rocked by corruption allegations since last July, when Chinese authorities accused it of funnelling up to 3 billion yuan (285 million pounds) to doctors and officials to encourage them to use its medicines. The former British boss of the drugmaker’s Chinabusiness was accused in May of being behind those bribes.

Since then, smaller-scale bribery claims have surfaced in other countries and GSK is now investigating possible staff misconduct in Poland, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon.

Syria is the sixth country to be added to the list. The allegations there centre on the company’s consumer business, including its popular painkiller Panadol and oral care products.

Although rules governing the promotion of non-prescription products are not as strict as for prescription medicines, the email from a person familiar with GSK’s Syrian operations said alleged bribes in the form of cash, speakers’ fees, trips and free samples were in breach of corruption laws.

The detailed 5,000-word document, addressed to Chief Executive Andrew Witty and Judy Lewent, chair of GSK’s audit committee, said incentives were paid to doctors, dentists, pharmacists and government officials to win tenders and to obtain improper business advantages.

“GSK has been engaging in multiple corrupt and illegal practices in Syria and its internal controls for its Syrian operation are virtually non-existent,” the email said.

In addition, the email said GSK had engaged in apparent Syrian export control violations, including an alleged smuggling scheme to ship the drug component pseudoephedrine toIran from Syria via Iraq. Pseudoephedrine is regulated as a precursor for making methamphetamine.

GSK said it would investigate this matter along with the bribery claims.

“We welcome people speaking up if they have concerns about alleged misconduct,” the company said.

“On 18 July 2014, we received an email making claims regarding GSK’s former consumer operations and related distributors in Syria. Our compliance and legal departments were immediately notified and, as is our standard procedure, we immediately responded to the sender to confirm receipt and ask for more information.”

The whistleblower’s email said GSK used its own employees and Syrian distributor Maatouk Group to make illicit payments.

An official at Damascus-based Maatouk had no comment when contacted by telephone and said the company’s top executives were not immediately available.

HOLIDAY RESORT

The email listed a range of alleged improper activities, including payments of $1,500 each to two doctors to promote Panadol. The document also highlighted bribes paid to pharmacists and payments for medics to visit a Mediterranean holiday resort.

Further cash payments were related to the promotion of GSK cold and flu products, as well as its premium toothpaste brand Sensodyne.

Bribery charges around the world have tarnished the reputation of Witty and hit the company’s sales in China, at a time when it is also struggling with sluggish sales growth in the all-important U.S. market.

The allegations also leave it open to legal action – and potentially hefty fines – in Western countries where it is based or has a stock market listing.

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office launched a formal criminal investigation into GSK’s overseas activities in May and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is investigating it for possible breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

In the email sent to GSK concerning Syria, the author said that the information would be passed on to the DOJ and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

A recently introduced SEC programme provides cash incentives for whistleblowers to report corporate malpractice, including breaches of the FCPA.

GSK has overhauled its marketing policies in the wake of concerns about possible past misconduct. It aims to become the first company in the industry to stop paying outside doctors to promote its products.

 

Were The GSK Management Really Unaware, Of One OF The Biggest Bribery Networks In China, Orchestrated By A High Level Employee Of The Company?


And high level management, such as Sir Andrew Witty, GSK’s CEO, were apparently completely unaware of this stuff going on right under their noses?

They were completely oblivious of this massive bribery network involving high level management in China, and hundreds of doctors, drug reps and middle men aiding and abetting them. They were totally unsuspecting that millions of GSK bribe money was being funneled to China in order to fund this network?

And furthermore, when they were exposed and the Chinese began investigating, the GSK officials tried to bribe the Chinese again so that they would keep quiet about the original bribery allegations, and of course top level management abroad were again unconscious that all of this was going on… completely, and innocently, in the dark about the whole thing…

Do you really believe that? 

Seriously? 

pigs_fly_throw_jigsaw_puzzle-r6735890c9aa84e48b734e820a4c5caca_ambtl_8byvr_324

“The investigators also said that while the company itself had been “very responsible and has given us their full support”, the firm’s operation in China “tried to pay bribes” in order to “obstruct” their efforts “in exposing their bribery behaviours”.

Mark Reilly and two other colleagues are also suspected of bribing government officials in Beijing and Shanghai, they said”.

 

 

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-27403914

UK executive accused in GlaxoSmithKline China probe

The BBC’s Celia Hatton was granted rare access to a news conference at Chinese police HQ

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Chinese police have accused a British GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) executive of ordering staff to bribe hospital officials to use its medical products.

Mark Reilly and two other colleagues are also suspected of bribing government officials in Beijing and Shanghai, they said.

Police have handed the case over to prosecutors, officials said.

GSK said it took the allegations “very seriously” and would co-operate with the authorities over the matter.

Chinese authorities announced in July last year that they were investigating GSK, detaining four Chinese GSK executives.

Polish allegations

The police ministry accused Mr Reilly, the company’s former head of China operations, of personally running a “massive bribery network”.

Analysis

Today’s announcement will be a bitter pill for British Prime Minister David Cameron to swallow, having used his trip to China last year to lobby on Glaxo’s behalf. “Properly standing up for British businesses and British individuals,” he said at the time.

Politics is almost certainly playing its part. The Chinese healthcare industry is rife with corruption – feeding off the desperately low wages of doctors and officials – and no part of it, particularly not the local pharmaceutical supply chain, is exempt.

So Glaxo may well have a case to answer but it may also be a scapegoat. Foreign companies are easy targets in the midst of a crackdown on corruption, and a British one perhaps even more tempting, given China’s fury over David Cameron’s 2012 meeting with the Dalai Lama.

There is no way of knowing how much bearing that may have had of course, but if nothing else, today’s excoriating indictment is a lesson in the limits of British diplomacy in modern day China.

He is alleged to have pressed his sales team to pay doctors, hospital officials and health institutions to use GSK products, resulting in the “illegal revenue” of hundreds of millions of dollars.

At a news conference, the investigators took pains to explain how the cost of the alleged bribes was passed directly on to Chinese consumers, the BBC’s Celia Hatton reports.

They said the cost of the drugs sold by GSK in China was much higher than that of similar drugs sold by the company in other countries – sometimes up to seven times higher.

The investigators also said that while the company itself had been “very responsible and has given us their full support”, the firm’s operation in China “tried to pay bribes” in order to “obstruct” their efforts “in exposing their bribery behaviours”.

Mr Reilly had briefly left China when the investigation was launched last July, but returned to help with the inquiry. A police investigator was believed to still be in China. Mr Reilly could not be reached for comment.

The Chinese operation of GSK was accused by the Chinese authorities, when the probe first began, of using travel agencies and consultancies to transfer bribes over several years.

GSK has already apologised for employees apparently acting outside of its internal controls, but denies the sums of money are anything like as high as those alleged to have been paid.

The pharmaceutical giant is also facing a criminal investigation into similar allegations in Poland.

It follows allegations made by former sales representative Jarek Wisniewski to the BBC’s Panorama programme in April that doctors were paid to promote GSK’s asthma drug Seretide.

If the allegations in either country 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 the US or UK to bribe government employees abroad.

More on This Story

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China Unveiling GlaxoSmithKline Bribery Investigation Details On 14th of May


    China Unveiling GlaxoSmithKline Bribery Investigation Details

China Unveiling GlaxoSmithKline Bribery Investigation DetailsReuters

Chinese authorities will unveil the latest developments related to their GlaxoSmithKline investigation after the Ministry of Public Security accused Asia-based executives at Britain’s largest drugmaker of bribery.

According to a Ministry of Public Security statement, China’s authorities will reveal to the media at on 14 May their findings after a probe into GSK following allegations that unnamed executives routed 3bn yuan ($488m, £307m, €365m) in bribes to doctors through 700 travel agencies and consultancies over six years.

In July 2013, Chinese police arrested four GSK executives in connection with the bribery allegations.

On 30 April, GSK said: “The People’s Republic of China (PRC), acting through various government agencies, continues its investigation into alleged crimes and violations of law by GSK’s China operations.

“The Group takes these allegations seriously and is continuing to cooperate fully with the Chinese authorities in this investigation. The Group has informed the US Department of Justice, the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) regarding the investigation and is co-operating fully with these agencies.

“It is not possible at this time to make a reliable estimate of the financial effect, if any, that could result from these matters.”

GSK has also admitted that some Chinese executives appeared to have broken the law, but CEO Andrew Witty said the head office had no prior knowledge about the wrongdoing.

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

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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.

GSK investigating alleged corruption in Iraqi division (RTE News/Telegraph UK April 7th 2014)


http://www.rte.ie/news/business/2014/0407/607262-gsk-iraq-probe/

GSK investigating alleged corruption in Iraqi division

Monday 07 April 2014 12.53

Staff at the pharmaceutical company's Chinese division are already accused of bribery offences
Staff at the pharmaceutical company’s Chinese division are already accused of bribery offences

British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline is investigating alleged corruption by staff at its pharmaceuticals division in Iraq, the group has announced.

GSK, which already faces a bribery probe in China, stressed that it would not tolerate illegal behaviour by staff.

“We are investigating allegations of improper conduct in our Iraq business. We have zero tolerance for unethical or illegal behaviour,” a spokesman told AFP.

London-listed GSK employs fewer than 60 people in its pharmaceuticals operation in Iraq, while the allegations relate to a “small number” of individuals, he added.

“However, we are investigating whether there has been any improper conduct and these investigations are ongoing.”

The Wall Street Journal had reported that a person familiar with GSK’s Middle Eastern operations had emailed the drugs firm to report alleged misconduct and corrupt practices in Iraq dating from 2012 and 2013.

The spokesman added that GSK remained committed to improve healthcare in emerging nations like Iraq.

“Operating in emerging markets is challenging given the issues many of these countries face with funding and maturity of their respective healthcare systems,” he said.

“However, we continue to believe that with robust compliance systems and, by working closely with local governments, our presence in these markets can help improve access to medicines and broader healthcare.”

GSK is currently in the process of overhauling how it markets and sells products around the world, he added.

“We … continue to make fundamental reforms to our sales and marketing practices.

“Following successful roll out in the USA, we are globally changing how our sales representatives are paid and we are also stopping the practice of paying doctors to speak on our behalf.

“We believe these changes will eliminate any perception of conflict of interest and ensure incentives for our employees are aligned with the best interests of patients.”

On Friday, GSK revealed that it had dismissed a small number of workers at its Chinese division as part of the routine monitoring of travel expenses.

However, the move was not linked to Beijing’s ongoing bribery probe, the spokesman said.

In July 2013, GSK admitted that senior employees at its China business appeared to have breached Chinese law, after authorities alleged that employees had bribed government officials, pharmaceutical industry groups, hospitals and doctors to promote sales.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/pharmaceuticalsandchemicals/10749796/GSK-investigates-bribery-claims-in-Iraq.html

GSK investigates bribery claims in Iraq

British drugmaker, already embroiled in corruption scandal in China, looking into allegations against its Iraqi unit

A GlaxoSmithKline logo

GSK employs fewer than 60 people in its pharmaceuticals operation in Iraq and company spokesman says allegations relate to a small number of individuals in the country Photo: Getty Images

GlaxoSmithKline is investigating allegations of corruption against the company’s Iraqi arm, just nine months after becoming embroiled in a major bribery scandal in China.

The British drug giant is looking into claims the company hired government-employed doctors and pharmacists in Iraq as paid sales representatives, to boost sales of its products.

GSK launched the inquiry as soon as it was made aware of the allegations a number of weeks ago, the Telegraph understands.

“We are investigating allegations of improper conduct in our Iraq business. We have zero tolerance for unethical or illegal behaviour,” said a company spokesman.

He also said GSK employed fewer than 60 people in its pharmaceuticals operation in Iraq and that allegations relate to a small number of people in the country.

Glaxo received the allegations from a whistleblower who was familiar with GSK’s Middle East operation, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing emails from this person.

The whistleblower accused Glaxo of hiring 16 government-employed doctors and pharmacists as sales representatives for the company.

The person also claimed the practices make GSK vulnerable to prosecution under the UK Bribery Act and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

GSK is also facing allegations that sales staff in China paid as much as £320m in bribes to win market share.

The company has admitted that its own investigation into the allegations, made last year, unearthed evidence of wrongdoing by a handful of sales staff, but maintains they worked outside GSK’s control systems. It has called the allegations “shameful” and said it is cooperating with the ongoing Chinese investigation. The scandal has hit sales of GSK products in China, where it makes around 3pc of global revenues.

Despite GSK’s compliance problems in emerging economies, it continues to see these markets as crucial for the business. Last week it unveiled a $200m (£120m) investment in sub-Saharan Africa.

“We continue to believe that with robust compliance systems and, by working closely with local governments, our presence in these markets can help improve access to medicines and broader healthcare,” said a company spokesman.

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