Peter Humphrey Describes His Life Inside A Chinese Prison..


I can only imagine the devastating trauma that GSK inflicted on Peter Humphrey when they set him up as the fall guy for their despicable crimes in China. It seems that wherever GSK go- destruction, pain and misery follows..


https://www.ft.com/video/4fb22a91-8bca-4704-9cca-93f2eeeac4a7

In his first written account of his ordeal, the Briton arrested in China while working for GSK looks back on 23 harrowing months in jail

‘I was locked inside a steel cage’: Peter Humphrey on his life inside a Chinese prison In his first written account of the ordeal, the former corporate investigator looks back on 23 harrowing months in Chinese jail Share on Twitter (opens new window) Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window) Save to myFT Peter Humphrey February 16, 2018 Print this page Introduction In January 2013 the Anglo-American pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline received an anonymous email alleging widespread bribery of doctors and hospitals by its China operation. Two months later, it also received a secretly filmed sex tape featuring GSK’s China chief Mark Reilly. The company hired ChinaWhys, a risk-advisory firm based in Shanghai, to investigate Vivian Shi, its former head of government affairs, suspecting her at that time of a smear campaign. ChinaWhys was run by Briton Peter Humphrey, a former journalist who had previously led China investigations for US risk consultancy Kroll and the accounting firm PwC, and his Chinese-born American wife Yu Yingzeng.

 

Both were certified fraud investigators. In June 2013, the Chinese government announced a bribery investigation into GSK China. In July, Humphrey and Yu were detained and charged with “illegally acquiring personal information” of Chinese nationals. The story received huge attention internationally and, in August 2013, the couple were paraded on state TV, purportedly confessing. In a note dictated from prison in March 2014 and seen by the FT, Humphrey accused GSK of having failed to fully disclose the corruption allegations against the company when he agreed to work for them. In August 2014, he and Yu finally stood trial and were convicted and sentenced to 30 and 24 months in jail respectively.

In a separate trial in September 2014, GSK China was found guilty of bribery and paid a fine of £297m, upon which its detained executives were released. Humphrey was released from prison under diplomatic pressure in June 2015 amid reports of ill health, and he and Yu left the country. This is his first personal account of the 23 months they spent in captivity. I sat on the rough wooden floorboards of a spartan cell in the Shanghai Detention Centre, reading an old copy of FT Weekend that had been brought in by my consul, and shivering as winter approached. It’s not the kind of spot the FT imagines its readers in. But in 2013, this floor — shared by 12 prisoners — was my breakfast, lunch and dinner table. I was reading an interview with Russia’s most famous convict, oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was stuck inside a frigid Siberian jail.

It was a powerful article, which aroused comparisons to my own ordeal and spurred me to read more widely about captivity. During the 23 months I spent imprisoned in China, on false charges that were never proven in court, I consumed about 140 books, including jailbird classics such as Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Dumas’ Man in the Iron Mask, Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and modern equivalents such as Marina Nemat’s Prisoner of Tehran. Mental fodder to help me endure my own predicament.

This “detention centre” was once one of China’s notorious — and supposedly now abolished — “education through labour” prisons for miscreants in the Communist party-ruled dictatorship. Today, they pretend to be custody centres but they are still punishment centres. Untried prisoners are condemned from day one, starting with the dire conditions they face when they arrive. The aim is to isolate, crush the spirit, break the will. Many crumble quickly. My journey here began at the offices of my corporate investigation company in Shanghai on July 10 2013. I had living quarters there with my wife, Ying, and we were getting ready for our day. At 7am the Public Security Bureau (PSB) police flooded in, kicking our bedroom door into my face and injuring my neck. From that moment on, things moved ruthlessly fast: they ransacked the office, dismissed my staff, separated my wife and me from each other, and both of us from our teenage son Harvey. It would be two years before we were reunited.

Men in plain clothes drove us in unmarked black cars into the bowels of a hulking concrete building known as “803”, a feared headquarters of the Shanghai PSB. I was taken along underground corridors lined by dank interrogation cells, and through the gaps in doors saw prisoners slumped in metal chairs. When we reached my room, I sat in an interrogation chair with a lockable crossbar. PSB men came and went, asking questions about items found on our laptops. On a podium my confiscated mobile phone rang relentlessly but our son’s frantic calls to us went unanswered. Peter Humphrey: my time in a Chinese prison “Where did you get this?” “Where did you get that?” The interrogators’ questions were targeted. They knew what they wanted. As a business specialising in investigative work, we used code names. “Who’s this agent? And his phone number?” Fifteen hours later, we sped out of the building in the dead of night. Ying and I were again in separate black cars. There was no word on where we were going. As we rode into a slum off the Hunan Road, a PSB man handcuffed me, saying, “I’m sorry, I don’t think you deserve this but I have orders from above.”

Prisoners were always delivered at night. It made them weaker, easier to break We halted in a dark alley before a towering gatehouse with one-foot-thick iron doors rolling into the walls on either side. The gates were guarded by paramilitaries of the People’s Armed Police (PAP). Other PAP men patrolled the two-metre-thick perimeter walls. In a “check-in” area, our pockets were emptied. I had to take off my jacket, shirt, slacks and Pierre Cardin shoes, and was photographed against a wall, front and side on. In the cell block, a warder made me strip to check I wasn’t hiding anything — anywhere. He threw me some cotton shoes half my size and a smelly red vest with a “V” torn into its neck, and “Shanghai Detention Centre” stamped on its back. At about 3am I was tossed into a sweltering cell. It was, I learnt, a ritual — new prisoners were always delivered at night. It reinforced the shock. Made them weaker. Easier to break, to extract confessions from. The warder shut the door with a clang and uncuffed me through the bars. “What’s up?” mumbled a sleepy voice in Chinese from under a mound of pink bedclothes. “A new guy,” said another. A man in boxer shorts came to the door. “Sleep there,” he said, dumping a dirty quilt on a narrow spot beside the toilet. My head was bursting hot. Stunned and exhausted, I wept. Around the cell, shaved heads popped up like chicks from a nest to glimpse the commotion, then went back to sleep nonchalantly. A dozen or so bodies lay in rows on the rough boards, like sardines in cans with pink lids. A ceiling light burned brightly — in fact, it was never off. I felt winded. How could I sleep? Then suddenly it was light outside too. It must have crept up slowly but the new day came as a shock. My horror movie rolled to the next scene.

A low-pitched horn broke the silence. I hear it every day still. Bodies sat up. Warders on the corridor in pale-blue shirts banged on the bars. “Qilai, qilai.” “Get up!” At breakfast the gritty rice and the briny smell of pickle made me retch. Some men had sachets of “cereal” powder that they mixed with boiled water from an urn perched outside the bars. “Have one of my cereals,” said one inmate. Two men cleared the dishes and took them to the sink. Their actions were chores rostered to each detainee by the warder. Cleaning the floor, washing the dishes, scrubbing the toilet, stacking the boxes and quilts, emptying the urn twice a day for refilling, washing and folding the cloths. These jobs rotated each week. The men exercised by circling the cell for 10 minutes like Tibetan pilgrims at a temple, minus the Buddhist chants. But this was no temple, just a floor five by three metres. The entrance and toilet added another two square metres. The toilet was a hole in the floor with a rusty flushing lever on the wall behind it. The sink was a heavy, cracked ceramic affair with a cold tap. Above it was a piece of shiny plastic, supposedly a mirror, warped so you couldn’t see a clear image. During 14 months here, I did not see my own face. After the “stroll” came the toilet ritual

. Orange vests sat on designated spots beside the wall. Red vests — new boys — faced the grille studying a brown rule book. We went to the toilet in turns, red vests last. Squatting over the hole I almost toppled as I reached for the flusher behind me. “To shit, face forward; to piss, face the wall,” barked Li, the cell boss. “That way, it falls the right way without a mess. You did it the wrong way.” Over the next 10 days, like a dog yapping at my ankles, Li ordered me to do this and do that. To learn the rules. Some of the men were kind; not all. On day 10, the warder ordered me to gather my things. “You are going home,” said Li. The other men echoed his pronouncement and told me to put on proper clothes and dump my red vest. My heart rose. When the warder fetched me, he barked at Li, who had cruelly conned me — I was only moving cell. My heart sank. They moved me to Cell 203 and gave me an orange vest. My new boss was Liu, 34, sentenced to 13 years for illegally owning guns to shoot rabbits. “Most people here committed crimes for money,” said Liu. “But I am only here because of my hobby.”

There were three Chinese in their late fifties like me, in the green vests worn by inmates with chronic illnesses. All three were wealthy businessmen, hostile to the political system. All were awaiting trial, accused of fraud; all claimed to have been framed. The cell was nicknamed “sick men’s cell” by the others; I called it “the billionaires’ cell”. The aim is to crush the spirit, break the will. Many prisoners crumble quickly Whatever the cell, the rituals were the same. During exercises, which were aired on a closed circuit overhead TV, we imitated jumps and stretches performed by three PE coaches, one male, two female — the closest my cellmates ever got to a woman. Then a white-coated patrol doctor came by our grille. Inmates raised health issues but they would be lucky to get a dollop of ointment for a sore foot, or an aspirin. Next came “study time”. We sat cross-legged on red spots on the floor while the TV relayed “lessons” from the detention centre “propaganda department”. Sometimes it was the “propaganda director” preaching about good behaviour and analysing recent statistics: how many detainees had quarrelled or fought; how many inmates had argued with the guards or broken other rules, and been punished by isolation or prolonged squatting. Inmates sat quietly. Some would try sneak-reading a book. Others plotted how to handle their case, or dreamed. Nobody took “study” seriously, though sometimes we had to write a commentary on the session. That was our life. A waiting game. No family visits. No letters home. Just brief messages to lawyers. No chance to orchestrate a real defence. Foreign prisoners could receive consular visits, to the envy of Chinese cellmates Usha, the vice-consul who visited me regularly, and her assistant Susie, relayed messages to and from my family, brought books and magazines, and lobbied over my health.

They were my angels. In the detention centre I developed symptoms of prostate cancer, a long hernia, skin rashes, anal infections and constant diarrhoea, and endured an injury to my spine inflicted during the raid. None was treated. There were frequent interrogations. For these I was locked in an iron chair inside a steel cage facing a podium where three PSB men questioned me and, once or twice, men from “a different department”. Most of it was smoke. I had to thumb-print statements in red seal ink, and specimen documents from my project files. The PSB men did not want to hear any mitigating explanations. They tried to make it look as though Ying and I earned millions from trading in data, which we never did. Twice, the “other department” men tried to stitch me up for spying. They tried to accuse me of spying in the restive Muslim region of Xinjiang.

They tried to tie me to a US intelligence entity spying on North Korea. © David Foldvari After seven months, Ying and I were finally allowed to exchange jailbird love letters. They took a month to travel 30 metres through the concrete and three layers of police censorship. We were not allowed to discuss our case. Some of our letters were blocked without telling us. But I reminded myself that the Chinese men had no such privilege. After 13 months without trial, I finally went to court on August 8 2014, where Ying and I were charged with “illegally acquiring citizens’ information” (which we denied). That day also saw one of the most deeply distressing moments of the entire ordeal. The police had told me shortly before our trial that Ying had been informed of the recent death of her brother, Bernard. So, on the morning of our trial, when I saw her on the stairs in the courthouse, I expressed my condolences. The manner in which she broke down told me instantly that they had lied. She didn’t know. I believe they did this on purpose to destabilise us for the trial. We were predictably sent down, me for 30 months and Ying for 24. From the moon, Qingpu Prison would look like a peaceful walled university campus with dorms, gardens, camphor trees, a soccer pitch and a parade ground. From my level, there were a dozen concrete cell blocks with barred windows, a prison theatre, an office block, a kitchen, a boiler house and a factory.

The perimeter wall bristled with razor wire and was patrolled by armed PAP guards. It could hold 5,000-6,000 prisoners. It also “trained” prisoners for redistribution to other prisons. Cell block eight was for foreign men, the adjacent block for Chinese. A tall iron fence sealed off a yard between the block’s wings. A bald middle-aged Malaysian lifer came to the gate and helped carry my prison bags. His nickname was MC. He was block eight’s “king rat”. He ran a Malaysian mafia that controlled all the food and job assignments at Qingpu. “What are your thoughts?” a bespectacled senior officer asked me when I arrived. “I don’t know what you mean,” I replied. “What will you do here?” he asked. I did not realise his questions were euphemisms for, “Will you write the acknowledgment of guilt and ‘repentance report’?” that was required of all prisoners. “I can teach some English to your staff,” I said innocently. I was led to the “training cell” for new prisoners, and given blue-and-white-striped shorts and a white short-sleeved shirt with blue tabs, the summer prison uniform. I became prisoner number #42816. There were frequent interrogations. I was locked in an iron chair inside a steel cage My cell held 12 prisoners. We slept on iron bunks with wooden planks and a cotton “mattress” one-and-a-half inches thick, covered with a coarse striped sheet. The barred windows were never closed. Winter was freezing. “I am the cell leader,” said a wiry young African, one of many Nigerians there, most convicted of drug smuggling and serving life terms.

 

We were joined by two Chinese prisoners who held foreign citizenship: Zhang, an Austrian citizen serving a long term for people-trafficking; and Chen, a Thai citizen who was in jail for embezzlement. They were snitches who informed against everybody and who had been moved into the cell to monitor me. As both spoke some English, they would follow me everywhere, listen to any conversations I had and report back to the officers. Zhang managed the cell block’s factory production; Chen worked as “social secretary” between prisoners and officers. “How do sentence reductions work? How does the points system work?” I asked. “We don’t know, you must ask the captains,” they lied. “At least, if you want to qualify for reduction, you must confess.” © David Foldvari I spoke next to a Captain Liu. “What are your thoughts?” he said in broken English in a small interview room with bars separating us. My first thought was, “Here we go again.” “I am innocent and I will not admit any crime,” I said. “If I have to stay here, I will use my time to read. I can help teach people English if you want me to. I want to know about the sentence-reduction system.” Liu seemed awkward dealing with a grey-haired Englishman about his own age. “Studying is a privilege, not a right. You should write confession and repentance reports,” he said.

He was more civilised than most warders and I think he genuinely hoped to have a good rapport with me. I disappointed him. “I will not write any of that,” I said. “And I demand medical treatment for my ailments, including my prostate.” Zhang led me back to the cell. In the corridors and stairs other prisoners appeared. They smiled and nodded at me. On our corridor an African inmate tried to chat. “They told us all not to talk to you,” he said. “They said you are an MI6 spy. None of us believes it. We saw your trial on TV. We have been waiting for you. You are a hero. If you need anything, tell us, we will help you,” he said, ignoring Zhang and Chen, who fluttered and clucked like anxious hens. I had brought no toiletries, having been told I would get new ones. Instead, I had to buy them and I had no prison account, even though my warders handed over the money from my detention centre account to the prison. Initially, the officers also banned me from sending letters to family, making phone calls or using the prison shopping system. But I soon found a pile of things on my bunk — tissues, laundry powder, biscuits, coffee sachets, a small towel, two plastic rice bowls, pens and notepaper.

 

Inmates dropped these things there as anonymous charity donations. Zhang and Chen led me to my first supper in the “workroom”, where some 120 prisoners occupied rows of tables with backless, immovable seats attached. As I walked in, all eyes were on me, along with those of six officers. The food was warm here, sometimes hot. A standard dinner was a bowl of steamed rice, almost grit-free, stir-fry including a meat and a vegetable, and a thin soup. The Ritz! MC’s gang served one cell at a time, ladling food from battered trays. Peter Humphrey with his wife Ying at their Surrey home, 2017 After a final roll-call at 9pm, the barred cell door was locked and trusted prisoners from a Chinese block stood watch on the corridor to report nefarious activity or suicide bids. The ceiling light was kept on all night. We awoke at 6am. One of us cleaned the toilet area before the others rose. A warder unlocked the cell and the men trooped down to the yard with Thermoses to collect boiled water for hot drinks or washing. Two flasks per man. For breakfast we ate plain rice congee or a steamed bun with salt pickles, and, every Sunday, a boiled egg. There was half-an-hour of exercise in the open air before breakfast in a yard the size of a basketball pitch. After a few days, nice Captain Liu vanished and word flew round that young Captain Wei would manage our cell. Wei was notorious for persecuting inmates and stirring up incidents that led prisoners to get a beating and to be dragged off screaming to solitary, which I witnessed over and over again. “They are sending him here because of you,” I was told.

 

Indeed, Wei summoned me several times a week for a “talk”. He tried to provoke my anger, insulted me, ordered me to write confessions, threatened me with an extended sentence or solitary if I refused. I never yielded. Every week I cited my medical problems and demanded proper examinations and treatment for my prostate. “But you haven’t confessed,” he would say. He staged searches and threw all my things out of my bunk drawers across the cell. He often removed my private diary, so I played cat and mouse, keeping my notebook on my person. I agreed to write a separate monthly “record of my progress” for him, but I only listed his abuses. He would write “good” on each page like a teacher. He obviously did not understand my handwritten English. The prison was a business, doing manufacturing jobs for companies. Mornings, afternoons and often during the after-lunch nap, prisoners “laboured” in the common room. Our men made packaging parts. I recognised well-known brands — 3M, C&A, H&M. So much for corporate social responsibility, though the companies may well have been unaware that prison labour was part of their supply chain.

Prisoners from Chinese cell blocks worked in our factory making textiles and components. They marched there like soldiers before our breakfast and returned late in the evening. The foreigners who laboured in my cell block were Africans and Asians with no money from family, and no other way to buy toiletries and snacks. It was piece work; a hundred of this, a thousand of that. Full-time, they earned about Yn120 (£13.50) a month. But it was also about points. There was a sentence-reduction system based on points earned through labour — work such as floor cleaning, food serving, teaching and approved study. Snitching also earned favourable treatment. Our life was a waiting game. No family visits. No letters home. Just brief messages to lawyers Once or twice a year a list of prisoners went up showing who had earned reductions.

 

Those on long terms crowded around, praying their name was on the board. Many were disappointed. Reductions had become rarer since President Xi Jinping had taken power in early 2013. Before that, a 10-year term might be cut to seven. Under Xi you would be lucky to get one year taken off. I never qualified because I boycotted the thought reports. The officers refused to explain the system to me anyway. Between bouts of persecution by Wei, I read books and newspapers sent by my Rotary Club community, and books from the prison “library” shelves managed by Stern Hu, a China-born Australian. Stern had led the China office of mining giant Rio Tinto before his arrest in 2009 on murky allegations of espionage and bribery, as China fought Australia over the price of iron ore. Ironically, I had commentated on his case on CNN at the time. Now I was his jailmate. Tall and aristocratic-looking, hair whitened by captivity, he was highly educated and very kind. He provided me with some of his warm clothing in winter and helped me with Chinese letter writing and reading. He was struggling with heart disease, and I worry about his health to this day. Every encounter was an education. I had spent 15 years helping to prosecute fraudsters. Now, in prison, I met many people who might easily have been my investigation targets, but who I came to believe did not deserve such harsh sentences. I came away from my captivity with sympathy for both the innocent and the guilty. I continued to refuse to “confess”, and the captains continued to block my access to prostate treatment and warm clothing. Everybody was supposed to shave once or twice a week. Prisoners had their own razors, which were stored under lock and key. On certain days of the week the razors were handed out to their owners to shave and then handed back in immediately. I applied to have my family buy me a razor, but Wei kept blocking approval. They tried to make me use a shared razor

. I refused on hygiene grounds. I grew a long straggly grey beard. Hair was cut every Saturday morning by prisoners. I let mine grow. Before long, I looked like a cross between Santa Claus and the Count of Monte Cristo. This drove Wei nuts. He tried to force me to shave, and I filed complaints to the prison and my consulate. Other prisoners started winking at me as I walked along the corridor and I noticed they had started to grow beards too.  My consular saviours — Roslyn, who took over from Usha, and Susie — brought letters and books from relatives and friends each month, and relayed my complaints to the prison and the authorities. One day, they brought me a copy of the United Nations treaties on imprisonment and torture that I had requested. These confirmed to me that China failed to comply with most of the standards of treatment (on nutrition, sleep, labour, health, contact with family, etc) required by international laws that China had signed, and I urged my consul to complain. I shared the treaties among the inmates. Handwritten copies proliferated. Some of the men started citing the treaties in complaints to the governor. The officers began to grow uneasy and I could sense that some wanted to get shot of me. Wei continued to threaten me with solitary and made efforts to ban me from sitting down anywhere. In April 2015, something shifted. Consular lobbying and my relentless complaints forced the prison to send me for a PSA blood test and an MRI at a local hospital. Wei used the moment to parade me in front of the public at hospital in handcuffs and prison uniform. But the MRI result was a milestone.

Within weeks, they had to admit that I had a tumour in my prostate, although they concealed the result of the the blood test. The next step should have been a biopsy. Instead, they began to fake the paperwork for a sentence reduction for good behaviour. It emerged from this that the real commander of cell block eight was one Captain Shang. He, and eventually the prison governor, spent long sessions pleading with me to sign an admission of guilt so that I could leave prison with Ying, whose sentence would expire on July 9 that year. “Even your wife could get a small reduction too,” said Shang. He and I argued over the wording of a compromise statement that I would sign to satisfy the paperwork. He went back and forth to his superiors with my position. I finally signed a statement expressing qualified, conditional remorse if I had done anything wrong but not admitting that I had done anything wrong at all. Somehow they fudged it. I came away from my captivity with sympathy for both the innocent and the guilty On June 4 2015, the prison smuggled me to the Shanghai Prison Hospital where I never saw a doctor but where they pretended I was getting medical attention for five days. The vice-governor came to me with a Gillette Turbo razor and begged me to use it. In my final act before leaving Qingpu, I shaved. On June 9, they released Ying and me into house arrest in the Magnotel, a small hotel that sources said belonged to the security apparatus, pending our deportation. On June 17, the PSB men who had originally arrested and interrogated us in 2013 conveyed us to Pudong Airport to deport us on a Virgin flight to London. Just before we climbed aboard, the PSB handed us a bill for our nine-day stay in the Magnotel. We didn’t have the cash with us, so we signed an “IOU”. Postscript After deportation to the UK in 2015, Peter Humphrey was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, and spent 18 months in cancer treatment and one year in PTSD treatment.

He fought a 21-month legal battle against the Home Office over Yu’s right to stay in the UK and won in court. He filed a detailed report to the Beijing government on Shanghai’s abuse of China’s judicial system and awaits a reaction. He and his wife have filed suit against GSK in US courts on racketeering charges. His damaged health has prevented his return to business and he has reverted to his journalistic and academic roots as a sinologist and writer. He was banned from China for 10 years but does not rule out a return when conditions are favourable. Doing business in Xi’s China Peter Humphrey during his “confession” on Chinese state TV, August 27 2013 When Peter Humphrey was arrested by Chinese police in July 2013, the world still knew very little about China’s new president and Communist party general secretary, Xi Jinping. It seems naive now, but five years ago many people hoped Xi’s administration would press ahead with difficult economic and perhaps even political reforms. The cases brought against Humphrey, his wife Yu Yingzeng and their corporate client GSK were some of the first indications that the international business community was about to enter uncharted territory as Xi quickly established himself as China’s most powerful leader in decades

 

. GSK was one of the first corporate casualties of Xi’s anti-corruption campaign, which has been unprecedented in scope. Shanghai police charged the UK company’s staff with paying doctors billions of dollars in kickbacks. Humphrey, a former Reuters reporter turned private investigator, was charged with illegally obtaining private information. His case was never officially connected to the GSK investigation, but few people doubted that he had appeared on the authorities’ radar because of his work for the UK pharmaceutical giant. Humphrey’s ordeal also presaged a dramatic deterioration in China’s human rights environment. His “confession” while under detention, which was broadcast by state television long before his trial, is now a common tactic employed in government prosecutions of Chinese human-rights lawyers, labour organisers and other activists. By Tom Mitchell in Beijing Inside China’s prison system According to the Ministry of Justice, under which the Bureau of Prison Administration operates, there are about 700 corrections facilities throughout China. The official reported rate of incarceration is 119 per 100,000, with 1,649,804 sentenced prisoners, but this statistic excludes pre-trial detainees and those held in administrative detention. A 2009 report from the deputy procurator-general of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate found that an additional 650,000 prisoners were held in detention centres throughout China. Although the Chinese government officially states that its correctional institutions do not use torture as a method to extract information, a Human Rights Watch report from 2015, quoted in a US State Department report, found “continued widespread use of degrading treatment and torture by law enforcement authorities” and revealed: “Some courts continued to admit coerced confessions as evidence, despite the criminal procedure law, which restricts the use of unlawfully obtained evidence.” The state department report went on to note “a lack of due process in judicial proceedings, political control of courts and judges, closed trials, the use of administrative detention, failure to protect refugees and asylum seekers, extrajudicial disappearances of citizens, restrictions on non-governmental organizations (NGOs), discrimination against women, minorities, and persons with disabilities”. By Ian Trueger

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How did GSK obtain a declination?


Bill Coffin | November 22, 2016

Back in September, our old compliance friend GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission for violating various provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, namely for improper payments, gifts, and other bribes made by GSK subsidiaries in China to Chinese officials to boost sales in that country. Back in 2013, GSK got itself into trouble for a wide-ranging bribery scheme in China, which included the involvement of top-level country managers down to individual sales personnel. The bribery schemes were numerous, including direct bribe payments to all healthcare personnel (HCPs) who could be influenced to prescribe the company’s pharmaceutical products, indirect payments to hospital administrators who could then dole out the money, excessive and over the top gifts, travel and entertainment, and very large payments for speaking events. According to the SEC, the corruption within GSK’s China unit was pervasive, with bribes actually written into the sales plan for the company.

For this, the SEC fined GSK $20 million and declined to prosecute, citing GSK’s cooperation with the Commission during its investigation and global remedial actions taken by GSK to eliminate payments to doctors, improve risk assessment, and improve third-party oversight. This declination might have made more sense with a different company. But this is GlaxoSmithKline here, and this was hardly the company’s first brush with the law, nor its most severe.

Corporate integrity agreement. In July 2012, GSK pled guilty and paid $3 billion to resolve fraud allegations and failure to report safety data and for false price-reporting practices in what the Justice Department at the time called the largest healthcare fraud settlement in U.S. history and the largest payment ever by a drug company for legal violations.

You would think that any company that has paid $3 billion in fines and penalties for fraudulent actions would take all steps possible not to engage in bribery and corruption. Indeed, as part of that settlement, GSK agreed to a Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA) that applied not only to the specific pharmaceutical regulations that GSK violated but all of GSK’s compliance obligations, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

In addition to requiring a full and complete compliance program, the CIA specified that the company would have a compliance committee, inclusive of the compliance officer and other members of senior management, whose job was to oversee full implementation of the CIA and all compliance functions at the company. These additional functions required deputy compliance officers for each commercial business unit, integrity champions within each business unit, management accountability, and certifications from each business unit. Training of GSK employees was also specified. Further, there was detail down to specifically state that all compliance obligations applied to “contractors, sub-contractors, agents, and other persons (including, but not limited to, third-party vendors).” So, while GSK may have separate FCPA liabilities to be investigated by the Justice Department; it may be more of an issue that the company could be in violation of its CIA.

“Transparency is what enables the public to understand why particular results are reached in particular cases and helps to reduce any incorrect perception that our enforcement decisions may be unreasoned or inconsistent.”

Leslie Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General

Chinese criminal conviction. But that is not all. In September 2014, barely two years after its historic DoJ settlement, GSK was convicted in a secret trial in a court in the Hunan province of China for bribery and corruption related to its Chinese business unit. The amount of the fine was approximately $490 million, roughly equal to the 3 billion Rmb that Chinese investigators alleged that GSK had paid in bribes. Five GSK senior executives from this China business unit were also convicted. Mark Reilly, the former head of GSK in China, was sentenced to prison for three years with a four-year suspension. He was deported and reportedly has left the company. Zhang Guowei, GSK China’s former human resources director, was sentenced to three years in prison with a three-year suspension. Liang Hong, GSK’s former China unit vice president and operations manager, was sentenced to two years in prison with a three-year suspension. Zhao Hongyan, GSK China’s former legal-affairs director, was sentenced to two years in prison with a two-year suspension. Finally, Huang Huang, the GSK China business-development manager, was sentenced to three years in prison with a four-year suspension.

There is even more. The New York Times recently ran a front-page story about GSK and China, focusing not so much on the bribery schemes or individuals, but on GSK’s inept response to whistleblowers’ allegations of bribery and corruption in the company’s Chinese business unit. “The Glaxo case was fueled by missed clues, poor communication, and a willful avoidance of the facts,” the Times wrote. “For more than a year the drug maker brushed aside repeated warnings from a whistleblower about systemic fraud and corruption in its China operations.

It turned out that the company had received substantive information concerning the bribery schemes by way of e-mail, written in excellent English about the company’s operations in China. Yet the GSK response was to try “another common gambit in China: bribing officials” who were doing the investigating. The company “set up a special ‘crisis management’ team in China and began offering money and gifts to regulators.”

In the midst of this corruption investigation crisis, the company received a video of its country manager, Mark Reilly, having sex with a Chinese woman. An e-mail alleged that a Chinese company, seeking to corruptly gain business favors with Reilly and seek additional business with GSK China, provided the woman. GSK officials in London thought this sex tape video was the work of the same person who was the whistleblower for the corruption allegations against the company and set out to discover the identity of the corruption whistleblower, as well as the sex tape whistleblower. Rather amazingly, GSK’s internal investigation turned up no evidence of bribery in its Chinese business unit, in spite of the detailed information provided by the whistleblower for the corruption allegations. At some point the whistleblower for the corruption allegations provided the same information to Chinese authorities, and this led to arrests of GSK China personnel in late June and July 2013.

The declination.

The DoJ’s declination order did not reference the Chinese trial, penalty, or investigation and seemed to sidestep GSK’s still-existing CIA for their prior violations and all of the facts developed in the Chinese governmental investigation of GSK. Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell has consistently communicated that the Justice Department is committed to the international fight against corruption, often leading the way. The Department has been training prosecutors from other nations in the techniques of investigating corruption and enforcement of anti-bribery laws.

Moreover, with this increase in the international fight against bribery and corruption, it would seem appropriate that a company not be double penalized by paying a penalty for the same offenses in multiple countries. However, if the Justice Department were providing such credit to GSK, it would seem appropriate that such information be communicated to heighten the transparency around the entire process. From the outside, it does not appear that GSK met at least two of the four prongs required under the FCPA Pilot Program. GSK did not self-disclose the violations of its Chinese business unit and did not cooperate with the authorities. While there were certainly some remedial steps taken by the company in China, they have not been detailed in any manner.

Whatever the reason for the declination, it would have been much better if the Justice Department had been more transparent in their decision-making calculus. Indeed, in recent remarks at the George Washington University School of Law, Caldwell spoke about the importance of transparency in the process. She said, “Transparency is what enables the public to understand why particular results are reached in particular cases and helps to reduce any incorrect perception that our enforcement decisions may be unreasoned or inconsistent.  Transparency also informs corporate actors and their advisers what conduct will result in what penalties and what sort of credit they can receive for self-disclosure and cooperation with an investigation.”

Just how GSK was able to get a complete pass from the Justice Department may well remain a mystery, and such mysteries do no one any good.

Bob Fiddaman’s New Post : ” Lawsuit Alleges GSK’s Witty Lied to the Media – Part I “…


http://fiddaman.blogspot.ie/2016/11/lawsuit-alleges-gsks-witty-lied-to.html

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Lawsuit Alleges GSK’s Witty Lied to the Media – Part I

Lawsuit Alleges GSK’s Witty Lied to the Media – Part I  
~ Bob Fiddaman
 

A 42 page complaint was filed on November 15, 2016, by Peter Humphrey and his wife, Yu Yingzeng, in relation to GSK’s nefarious activities in China which saw the pair incarcerated for around 2 years in Chinese slum-like conditions prison cells.

The complaint delves deep into the whole sordid affair and alleges bribery on a huge scale, more importantly, the complaint alleges that GSK hired the services of Humphrey and Yu in efforts to smokescreen the corruption in China, corruption, according to the complaint, that they had known about for many years. Furthermore, the 42 page document alleges that GSK’s CEO, Andrew Witty, lied to the media when he was asked about the corruption in China.

Humphrey and Yingzeng were the founders of ChinaWhys, a professional-services consultancy that specializes in discreet risk mitigation solutions, consulting and investigation services to corporate clients in matters of high sensitivity across Greater China and the Asia Pacific.

On April 15, 2013, Humphrey met with GSK’s Head of Chinese operations, Mark Reilly, April Zhao, GSK China legal counsel and Brian Cahill, also GSK legal counsel. It was at this meeting that Humphrey was told that GSK had been sent a series of emails from a whistleblower alleging widespread corruption – GSK told Humphrey that they believed they knew who the whistleblower was.

Vivian Shi had previously worked for GSK as a government affairs director, GSK had terminated her services with them in December 2012. According to the complaint GSK claimed that Shi had orchestrated a “smear campaign” against GSK involving a total of 23 emails that had been sent to Chinese officials throughout the country, a letter had also been sent to GSK’s ‘top management’ alleging widespread corruption in GSK’s pharmaceutical and vaccine business that had been approved by GSK China’s senior management.

These were allegations brought to Humphreys attention just months after GSK had been fined a record breaking $3 billion by the Department of Justice in America – the fine was handed down after a guilty plea by GSK who, after the settlement, entered into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. The agreement requires enhanced accountability, increased transparency and wide- ranging monitoring activities conducted by both internal and independent external reviewers.

One month after meeting with GSK officials Humphrey was told that GSK’s global CEO, Andrew Witty, had been made aware that GSK had been using a travel agent to channel kickback to customers and doctors throughout China. Days after Witty had been made aware, the whistleblower also sent a video to him and other senior management that showed GSK China’s Mark Reilly engaged in sexual activity – Reilly later claimed that the woman in the video was his “regular girlfriend”.

GSK officials told Humphrey that they had launched their own internal inquiry regarding the whistleblower allegation and that they were false. They told Humphrey, “There is nothing there”. This, according to the complaint, was a lie.

Humphrey and his wife offered to investigate the whistleblower allegations but GSK declined the offer, opting instead for Humphrey to investigate Vivian Shi, the woman they believed was the whistleblower.

Two months after Humphrey and Yu started their background search of Vivian Shi, GSK received another letter from the whistleblower alleging that GSK China continues to engage in systematic bribery of doctors, this email focused on GSK China’s botox business whereby the whistleblower claimed that…

GSK had a ‘pay to prescribe’ scheme that funneled money through a central source at Beijing Medical College whereby ‘lecture fee payments’ were made to doctors who could “…incentivize and reward doctors for prescribing Botox.”

At no point did GSK show either Humphrey or Yu this letter.

On June 12, 2013, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ran an article highlighting GSK China’s massive bribery network. In July of that year 4 senior GSK China executives were arrested and, according to Humphrey’s filed complaint, GSK CEO, Andrew Witty told the worlds media that “…it appears that certain senior executives in the Chinese business have acted outside of our processes and our controls to both defraud the company and Chinese healthcare system.” Witty also claimed that GSK’s Head office in London lacked knowledge of the whistleblower allegations and “had no sense of this issue.”

According to the complaint, this made no sense as since the previous month GSK did, indeed, “have a sense” of the issue since it announced its 4 month internal investigation into allegations of bribery and corruption in China and found “No evidence of corruption or bribery.”

The complaint states…

Witty argued, nonsensically, that the previous whistleblower allegations were “quite different” from the more recent charges, saying, “they are two completely different sets of issues, we fully investigated the first and, of course, this has now surfaced in the last couple of weeks.”

This was a lie, since “what surfaced” in the PSB investigation and raids of GSK offices in July was precisely the illegal activity that the whistleblower had documented and threatened to reveal in January.

The complaint was filed in The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Humphrey and Yu are represented by Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP

**Coming in Part 2**
– A full and comprehensive list of the allegations made by Peter Humphrey and Yu.
– GSK ask Humphrey to ‘overtly’ obstruct the Chinese government investigation.
– Evidence, including emails, to be destroyed as not to implicate any wrong-doing by the company.



Bob Fiddaman


Back stories.

Glaxo – The Sex Tape Scandal

GSK’s Mark Reilly Accused of Running a “massive bribery network”

I’m Just a Blogger – Here’s GSK Served on Prawn Crackers

GSK Hiked Product Prices to Fund Bribery Scam

GSK’s Sales Reps Want Their Money Back

GSK’s Private Investigator [The Video]

Peter Humphrey’s 2012 Presentation – Pharma Bribery

GSK’s Chinese Whispers and David Cameron

“GSK were really cagey”, Claims Whitehall Official.

Glaxo Hire Ropes & Gray to Delve Into its Chinese Operations.

GSK CHINA – Bribery was Rife 13 Years Ago

Witty Plays Down China Scandal

Witty Witty Bang Wang. The Glaxo Gangbang…Allegedly

Book Your Holidays With GSK Travel

Andrew Witty… I know narrrrrrrrthing

The Penny Drops for GSK’s Private Investigator.

GSK China Bought Patient’s Silence for $9,000

Brilliant New Post From Bob Fiddaman: “GSK China Bought Patient’s Silence for $9,000″…


As usual, Mr. Fiddaman hits the nail on the head…


 

http://fiddaman.blogspot.ie/2016/11/gsk-china-bought-patients-silence-for.html

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

GSK China Bought Patient’s Silence for $9,000

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!

Bob Fiddaman

Back Stories

Glaxo – The Sex Tape Scandal

GSK’s Mark Reilly Accused of Running a “massive bribery network”

I’m Just a Blogger – Here’s GSK Served on Prawn Crackers

GSK Hiked Product Prices to Fund Bribery Scam

GSK’s Sales Reps Want Their Money Back

GSK’s Private Investigator [The Video]

Peter Humphrey’s 2012 Presentation – Pharma Bribery

GSK’s Chinese Whispers and David Cameron

“GSK were really cagey”, Claims Whitehall Official.

Glaxo Hire Ropes & Gray to Delve Into its Chinese Operations.

GSK CHINA – Bribery was Rife 13 Years Ago

Witty Plays Down China Scandal

Witty Witty Bang Wang. The Glaxo Gangbang…Allegedly

Book Your Holidays With GSK Travel

Andrew Witty… I know narrrrrrrrthing

The Penny Drops for GSK’s Private Investigator.

These Recent Articles (From November 2016) On GSK’s Bribery Operation In China From The New York Times Make For Interesting Reading…


SHANGHAI — Peter Humphrey was in the bathroom of his Shanghai apartment when the police kicked the door off its hinges and knocked him to the ground. Nearly two dozen officers stormed his home. They confiscated files, laptops and hard drives related to his work as a corporate investigator.

Mr. Humphrey and his wife, Yu Yingzeng, were taken to Building 803, a notoriously bleak criminal investigation center normally reserved for human smugglers, drug traffickers and political activists. Sleep-deprived and hungry, he was transferred later that day to a detention house, placed in a cage and strapped to an iron chair. Outside, three officers sat on a podium and demanded answers.

Mr. Humphrey knew the reason for the harsh interrogation. He and Ms. Yu had been working for GlaxoSmithKline, the British pharmaceutical maker under investigation in China for fraud and bribery.

The Glaxo case, which resulted in record penalties of nearly $500 million and a string of guilty pleas by executives, upended the power dynamic in China, unveiling an increasingly assertive government determined to tighten its grip over multinationals. In the three years since the arrests, the Chinese government, under President Xi Jinping, has unleashed the full force of the country’s authoritarian system, as part of a broader agenda of economic nationalism.

China Rules

Articles in this series examine how multinational corporations doing business in China must adjust to an increasingly assertive state.

  • How China Won the Keys to Disney’s Magic KingdomJune 14, 2016

Driven by the quest for profits, many multinationals pushed the limits in China, lulled into a sense of complacency by lax officials who eagerly welcomed overseas money. Glaxo took it to the extreme, allowing corruption to fester.

Continue reading the main story

When bribery accusations surfaced, the company followed the old playbook, missing the seismic changes reshaping the Chinese market. Rather than fess up, Glaxo tried to play down the issues and discredit its accusers — figuring officials wouldn’t pay attention.

Along the way, there were bribes of iPads, a mysterious sex tape and the corporate investigator, who gave his operations secret code names. The company’s missteps are laid bare in emails, confidential corporate documents and other evidence obtained by The New York Times, as well as in interviews with dozens of executives, regulators and lawyers involved in the case.

The aftershocks of the Glaxo case are still rippling through China. The authorities have unleashed a wave of investigations, putting global companies on the defensive. The government has intensified its scrutiny of Microsoft on antitrust matters this year, demanding more details about its business in China. And just two weeks ago, the authorities detained a group of China-based employees, including several Australian citizens, working for the Australian casino operator Crown Resorts, on suspicion of gambling-related crimes.

Companies are racing to find new strategies and avoid getting locked out of China, the world’s second-largest economy after the United States. Disney and Qualcomm are currying favor with Chinese leaders. Apple redid its taxes in China after getting fined. Some multinationals are training employees in how to deal with raids.

The crackdown has prompted a complete rethinking for Glaxo — and for much of the pharmaceutical industry. To appease the government, drug makers have promised to lower prices and overhaul sales practices.

“For a long time, there’d been this policy of going easy on foreign enterprises,” said Jerome A. Cohen, a longtime legal adviser to Western companies. “The government didn’t want to cause embarrassment or give outsiders the impression that China is plagued with corruption. But they’re not thinking like that anymore.”

The Glaxo case was fueled by missed clues, poor communication and a willful avoidance of the facts. For more than a year, the drug maker brushed aside repeated warnings from a whistle-blower about systemic fraud and corruption in its China operations.

The company’s internal controls were not robust enough to prevent the fraud, or even to find it. Internally, the whistle-blower allegations were dismissed as a “smear campaign,” according to a confidential company report obtained by The Times.

Glaxo just wanted to make its problems go away. It offered bribes to regulators. It retaliated against the suspected whistle-blower. It hired Mr. Humphrey and Ms. Yu to dig into the woman’s background, family and government ties, as a way to discredit her. And Glaxo may even have gone after the wrong person, documents and emails obtained by The Times suggest.

Photo

Yu Yingzeng inside a police vehicle in Shanghai in August 2014. She and her husband, Mr. Humphrey, worked together and were arrested together. Credit Aly Song/Reuters

None of it mattered. The allegations were true.

Prosecutors charged the global drug giant with giving kickbacks to doctors and hospital workers who prescribed its medicines. In 2014 Glaxo paid a nearly $500 million fine, at the time the largest ever in China for a multinational. Five senior executives in China pleaded guilty, including the head of Glaxo’s Chinese operations, a British national, in a rare prosecution of a Western executive. With Glaxo embroiled in scandal, sales plummeted in China, the company’s fastest-growing market.

Glaxo has declined multiple requests for comment, referring instead to earlier statements. Glaxo “fully accepts the facts and evidence of the investigation, and the verdict of the Chinese judicial authorities,” one statement read. “GSK P.L.C. sincerely apologizes to the Chinese patients, doctors and hospitals, and to the Chinese government and the Chinese people.”

Mr. Humphrey and Ms. Yu, both in their late 50s at the time of their arrests, were punished too. The couple spent two years in prison for illegally obtaining government records on individuals.

Mr. Humphrey was crowded into a cell with a dozen other inmates. There were no beds or other furniture, just an open toilet and a neon light overhead. During his incarceration, Mr. Humphrey said, he suffered back pain, a hernia and a prostate problem that was later diagnosed as cancer.

“I was in a state of complete shock and breakdown,” said Mr. Humphrey, who was released along with his wife in July 2015. “I was physically broken down and mentally blown away. I didn’t sleep for 45 days.”

Photo

About seven weeks after Peter Humphrey was arrested in China, he and his wife, Yu Yingzeng, appeared on China Central Television. They spent about two years in prison.

A Whistle-Blower Emerges

An anonymous 5,200-word email in January 2013 to the Glaxo board laid out a detailed map to a fraud in the Chinese operations.

Written in perfect English, the email was organized like a corporate memo. Under the header “Conference Trip Vacations for Doctors,” the whistle-blower wrote that medical professionals received all-expenses-paid trips under the guise of attending international conferences. The company covered the costs of airline tickets and hotel rooms, and handed out cash for meals and sightseeing excursions.

In a section labeled “GSK Falsified Its Books and Records to Conceal Its Illegal Marketing Practices in China,” the email explained how Glaxo was pitching drugs for unapproved uses. As an example, the whistle-blower said the drug Lamictal had been aggressively promoted as a treatment for bipolar disorder, even though it had been approved in China only for epilepsy.

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.”

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.

How the Case Unfolded

JANUARY 2013 The whistle-blower sends a 5,200-word email to the Glaxo chairman, senior executives and the company’s outside auditor. The email, like the previous ones to authorities, describes a systemic fraud and bribery scheme. The allegations are dismissed by the company as a “smear campaign.”

See how the fallout unfolded »

When the authorities pressed Glaxo, the company was dismissive. It failed to properly investigate the allegations. It didn’t beef up its internal controls. And it didn’t change its marketing practices.

The decision was calculated. In the decades since China began opening its economy, most multinationals had avoided scrutiny over bribery. China needed overseas companies to help develop its economy, by setting up manufacturing operations and creating jobs. The authorities were reluctant to jeopardize investment, so they took a softer approach to enforcement.

When companies did run into trouble, fines were tiny. The rare cases tended to be colored by politics. Seven years ago, the Chinese authorities detained executives from the global mining giant Rio Tinto on suspicion of stealing state secrets. The charges were eventually downgraded to bribery, and the company avoided punishment.

By the time Glaxo’s fraud bubbled to the surface, China had changed.

Over the last decade, China has emerged as an economic powerhouse, but it took off even more as the rest of the world slowed after the financial crisis. That gave China the upper hand with overseas companies, which were increasingly dependent on profits from the country’s growing consumer base.

The economic might coincided with the Communist Party’s increasingly nationalistic stance. The authorities in China, already undertaking a severe crackdown on Chinese companies, wanted to show that, like American regulators, they could also penalize and sanction global companies.

And it was no secret that big drug makers were violating the law in China.

Years earlier, the consulting firm Deloitte warned about rampant corruption in China’s pharmaceutical market. As Deloitte found, doctors and health care workers were poorly compensated, so they could easily be induced to write more prescriptions with offers of cash, gifts, vacations and other benefits. Big drug makers, eager for growth, willingly obliged.

“The remarkable thing is that China is a more hospitable environment to this type of corruption, because it’s a market where doctors and hospitals are heavily reliant on drug sales,” said Dali Yang, who teaches at the University of Chicago and has studied the industry. “They were like fish swimming in water.”

American investigators had punished several major drug companies for such behavior abroad. In 2012, Eli Lilly agreed to pay $29 million, and Pfizer $45 million, to settle allegations that included employees’ bribing doctors in China. In settling the cases, neither company admitted or denied the allegations.

That summer, Glaxo agreed to pay $3 billion in fines and pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the United States for marketing antidepressants for unapproved uses, failing to report safety data on a diabetes drug and paying kickbacks. The case was built off tips from several whistle-blowers.

After that, Glaxo’s chief executive, Andrew Witty, pledged, “We’re determined this is never going to happen again.”

But it did — in China.

Photo

Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, right, speaking to Andrew Witty, chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline, during a visit in March 2012 to one of the company’s plants in Ulverston, northern England. Credit James Glossop/Reuters

Redirecting Bribes

In early 2013, Glaxo realized it couldn’t ignore the problems. The authorities were asking questions. The whistle-blower continued to send emails.

So the company tried another common gambit in China: bribing officials.

The company set up a special “crisis management” team in China and began offering money and gifts to regulators.

That strategy had worked in the past. A company, often using a middleman, would try to soothe officials and regulators, offering gifts and favors.

One government agency had received multiple emails from the whistle-blower, and Glaxo targeted multiple branches of the agency, according to state media reports. One executive tried to cozy up to a Shanghai investigator with an iPad and a dinner totaling $1,200, another Glaxo employee said in a statement to the police. When that executive asked for money to bribe the Beijing branch, Mark Reilly, the head of the company’s Chinese operations, gave the “go ahead.”

Another executive with Glaxo’s Chinese operations bribed regulators to focus on “unequal competition,” rather than a more punitive investigation into “commercial bribery.” The goal, that executive admitted in a statement, was to limit any potential fine to about $50,000. It didn’t work.

As pressure mounted, the case took a bizarre turn, setting Glaxo on a collision course with the government.

In March 2013, Glaxo’s chief executive and five other senior executives in the company’s London headquarters received an anonymous email with a media file. In it, a grainy video showed Mr. Reilly, the executive in China, engaged in a sexual act with a young Chinese woman.

The attached 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.”

Glaxo later discovered that the video had been shot clandestinely, in the bedroom of Mr. Reilly’s apartment in Shanghai. Analysts working for the company said it had been edited to disguise the location.

Glaxo executives in London were shocked. They deemed the video a serious breach of privacy, involving a possible break-in at the home of a senior executive in China. Mr. Reilly moved to a more secure residence.

Project Scorpion

Like many global companies, Glaxo has a code of conduct that encourages employees to report fraud or wrongdoing without fear of retaliation by the company. In many countries, including China, the rights of whistle-blowers are protected by law.

Glaxo didn’t seem to care.

By the time the video surfaced, Glaxo already had its suspicions about the identity of the whistle-blower. Months earlier, the company had fired Vivian Shi, a 47-year-old executive handling government affairs in Glaxo’s Shanghai office. The official reason for Ms. Shi’s firing was falsifying travel expenses. In fact, she was dismissed because the company believed she was the whistle-blower, according to confidential corporate documents obtained by The Times.

Ms. Shi did not return multiple calls for comment.

After receiving the video, Glaxo took more aggressive action, seeking to discredit Ms. Shi, who had already left the company.

How the Case Unfolded

MARCH 2013 Top Glaxo executives in London receive another whistle-blower email, this time showing Mark Reilly, the head of the company’s operations in China, engaged in a sexual act in his apartment.

See how the fallout unfolded »

At that point, in the spring of 2013, the company turned to Mr. Humphrey, the investigator. He ran ChinaWhys, a small risk consultancy firm that advised global companies like Dell and Dow Chemical.

His firm was engaged in what he called “discreet investigations,” helping multinationals cope with difficult situations like counterfeiting and embezzlement. Short in stature, with a shock of white hair, Mr. Humphrey portrayed himself as a kind of modern-day Sherlock Holmes.

“He likes a good adventure and likes solving cases,” said his friend Stuart Lindley, who runs a financial services company in China. “But he was definitely aware that some of that stuff was risky.”

In April 2013, Mr. Reilly met with Mr. Humphrey at Glaxo’s glass office tower near People’s Square in central Shanghai. According to meeting notes obtained by The Times, they discussed the emails, the sex video and Ms. Shi, the suspected whistle-blower. Mr. Reilly told the investigator that she held a grudge against Glaxo.

At the meeting, Mr. Reilly asked the investigator to look into the break-in at his apartment. But he made clear that he also wanted to assess what power and influence Ms. Shi might have with the government.

Legal experts say Mr. Reilly should not have been put in charge.

“The executive so accused has an obvious conflict of interest in overseeing such an investigation,” said John Coates, a Harvard Law School professor. “Even if the executive were entirely innocent of the whistle-blower’s charge, giving that same executive the role of investigating the whistle-blower smacks of retaliation.”

Efforts to reach Mr. Reilly, who has since left the company, were unsuccessful.

Using the code name Project Scorpion, Mr. Humphrey and his staff spent the next six weeks working undercover, gathering evidence. They visited Lanson Place, the upscale apartment complex where Mr. Reilly lived when the sex tape was made. They created a dossier on the suspected whistle-blower, searching for motives and ties to high-ranking officials or regulators. They interviewed former co-workers, scrutinized her résumé and scoured the web for information about her father, a former health official.

Glaxo may have crossed a line in this regard, putting the company more sharply in the government’s sights.

As part of the investigation, Mr. Humphrey turned to a Chinese detective to acquire a copy of Ms. Shi’s household registration record, or hukou. The official document contained information about her husband and daughter. The authorities had warned private detectives about acquiring confidential government documents.

“This type of household information is supposed to be private,” said John Huang, a former government official who is now managing partner at McDermott, Will & Emery in Shanghai. “But people were buying and selling it.”

Glaxo got little payoff from the investigation.

On June 6, 2013, Mr. Humphrey delivered a 39-page report to Glaxo that said Ms. Shi was probably the whistle-blower and even had a “track record of staging similar attacks” at a previous job. But the report included no evidence linking her to the emails or the sex video, according to a draft obtained by The Times.

Glaxo’s strategy of bribery and discrediting ultimately failed.

With the Chinese government in the midst of a crackdown on corruption, the police carried out a series of raids on June 27, 2013. They seized files and laptops from multiple Glaxo offices and interrogated dozens of employees. In Shanghai, four senior executives were detained. Investigators also raided the offices of several travel agencies that had worked closely with Glaxo, including China Comfort Travel.

A week later, the police stormed Mr. Humphrey’s apartment in Shanghai. He and his wife were charged with violating privacy laws.

Mr. Humphrey declined to comment on the specifics of the Glaxo case. His son defended his work, saying Glaxo engaged him “under false pretenses.” “My father is an honorable and law-abiding man,” said the son, Harvard Humphrey.

When prosecutors announced the case against Glaxo in July 2013, several weeks after arrests began, their allegations closely mirrored those of the whistle-blower. They described an elaborate scheme to bribe doctors and workers at government-owned hospitals using cash that had been funneled through a network of 700 travel agencies and consulting firms.

“It’s like a criminal organization: There’s always a boss, and in this case GSK is the boss,” said Gao Feng, one of the lead investigators.

Glaxo said little about the developments until July 15, when several high-ranking executives confessed from prison on state-run television. After that, the company capitulated, issuing a blanket statement for its misdeeds: “These allegations are shameful and we regret this has occurred.”

Cleaning Up Corruption

Photo

In this screenshot, Mark Reilly, center, the head of Glaxo’s operations in China, was escorted by the police to the courtroom to hear his sentence in September 2014 at the Changsha Intermediate People’s Court in the Hunan Province in central China. Credit Imaginechina

Dressed in a dark suit and a blue tie, Mr. Reilly, the Glaxo executive, was led in handcuffs into a small courtroom in the city of Changsha, in central China, in September 2014. With security guards behind him, he stood alongside four other senior Glaxo executives as a judge read the charges.

“The defendant company GSKCI is guilty of bribing nongovernment personnel and will be fined 3 billion yuan,” the judge, Wu Jixiang, said sternly, referring to Glaxo’s Chinese name. The company and the executives, having confessed, were given relatively light sentences, the court said.

Mark Reilly was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to be expelled from China.

After handing down that sentence, the judge turned to Mr. Reilly.

“Do you obey the court’s verdict? Do you appeal?” he asked.

Mr. Reilly said that he would not challenge the verdict. Because he was swiftly deported, he will not serve prison time in China.

Glaxo is still trying to clean up the mess.

In China, Glaxo has promised to overhaul its operations and has put in place stricter compliance procedures. The company has changed the way its sales force is compensated and has eliminated the use of outside travel agencies.

Glaxo has also tightened oversight of expenses and cash advances, areas central to the case. Employees must now send in photographs of the guests and food, to verify that the meetings took place.

And in August 2015, Glaxo tried to make amends by rehiring Ms. Shi, an acknowledgment that the company had erred in firing an employee suspected of being a whistle-blower.

But the decision also hinted at a more troubling admission — that Glaxo had targeted the wrong person. There are indications that Ms. Shi was not the whistle-blower, and that there may have been more than one person.

The emails sent to regulators were written in fluent English and came mostly from a Gmail account. The email with the sex video came from a local Chinese account and was written in poor English. The only similarity was the anonymity.

The Times sent emails to both accounts and got a response from just one, the person who had written the detailed emails to the Chinese authorities and Glaxo. “You have reached who you are looking for,” the person replied.

In a series of exchanges, the author denied being Ms. Shi, acting in concert with her or sending the video. The person said Glaxo had erroneously blamed Ms. Shi for the emails and never found the actual whistle-blower.

The Times was unable to verify the identity of the person, who described working in Shanghai but declined to come forward for fear of retribution.

“I didn’t reveal to GSK personnel that I was the whistle-blower because doing so would have placed me in potential physical jeopardy,” the whistle-blower wrote in an email to The Times. “You understand that criminals — you know that they were convicted later in Chinese courts — were in charge of GSK China at that time, and I truly believe that they would have harmed me in some fashion had they discovered my identity. ”


http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/02/business/international/timeline-glaxo-fallout-china.html

After a whistle-blower working for one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies began sending anonymous tips about fraud and corruption inside its operation in China, authorities there moved in. They arrested top executives and corporate detectives the company had hired to track down the whistle-blower. Here is how the events transpired.

Photo

Credit Aly Song/Reuters

China Rules

Articles in this series examine how multinational corporations doing business in China must adjust to an increasingly assertive state.

    December 2011 A self-described whistle-blower working inside Glaxo sends an email to Chinese regulators, detailing fraud and corruption in the pharmaceutical maker’s Chinese operations. It is the first of about two dozen emails sent over a 17-month period.

    April 2012 Glaxo executives in China begin hearing that a whistle-blower has been sending documents to Chinese regulators claiming widespread corruption at the company.

    July 2012 The company pleads guilty in the United States to criminal charges for improper drug marketing and kickbacks to doctors. The company’s chief executive, Sir Andrew Witty, pledges that it “is never going to happen again.”

    December 2012 Vivian Shi, the head of government affairs for Glaxo in China, is fired, supposedly for falsifying travel expenses. But the real reason, according to internal documents, is that Ms. Shi is suspected of being the whistle-blower.

    January 2013 The whistle-blower sends a 5,200-word email to the Glaxo chairman, senior executives and the company’s outside auditor. The email, like the previous ones to authorities, describes a systemic fraud and bribery scheme. The allegations are dismissed by the company as a “smear campaign.”

    Photo

    “This illegality almost killed a person,” a whistle-blower wrote to Chinese regulators in January 2013.

    March 2013 Top Glaxo executives in London receive another whistle-blower email, this time showing Mark Reilly, the head of the company’s operations in China, engaged in a sexual act in his apartment.

    April 2013 Glaxo hires ChinaWhys, a private consulting firm run by Peter Humphrey and his wife, Yu Yingzeng, to investigate the suspected whistle-blower and a break-in at Mr. Reilly’s home. The investigation is code-named “Project Scorpion.”

    Photo

    A whistle-blower alleged that a Glaxo executive in was being bribed with sex. Notes from a Glaxo meeting in April 2013 describe a graphic video attached the the whistleblower’s email.

    June 2013 Mr. Humphrey presents the findings of his investigation to Glaxo. Although his report offers no evidence connecting Ms. Shi to the emails, he notes the suspected whistle-blower has a “track record of staging similar attacks.”

    Photo

    “She has a past track record of staging similar attacks,” stated a private investigator’s report in June 2013.

    June 2013 The police carry out a series of coordinated raids on Glaxo offices throughout China, detaining four executives, including the country’s chief legal officer. Several travel agencies working closely with Glaxo are also raided.

    July 10, 2013 Mr. Humphrey and Ms. Yu, the private investigators hired by Glaxo, are detained by the police.

    July 15, 2013 At a news conference in Beijing, prosecutors accuse senior executives at Glaxo’s Chinese operations of running an elaborate scheme to bribe doctors and hospital workers, describing it as an “organized crime operation.”

    July 16, 2013 Four Chinese executives at Glaxo confess on state television to the bribery and fraud scheme.

    July 18, 2013 Glaxo’s finance chief is barred from leaving China.

    August 2013 Mr. Humphrey and Ms. Yu are formally arrested in Shanghai.

    August 2014Mr. Humphrey and Ms. Yu are convicted of illegally obtaining government records about individuals during their corporate investigations, a charge they denied. They each served two years in prison.

    Photo

    In December 2013, a U.S. government consular detailed the jail conditions of Mr. Humphrey’s wife Yu Yingzeng.

    Sept. 19, 2014 At a one-day trial held in secret, Mr. Reilly, the head of Glaxo’s Chinese operations, and other company executives plead guilty to fraud and bribery. Glaxo agrees to pay a $500 million fine. Mr. Reilly is deported from China.

    Was the GlaxoSmithKline FCPA resolution a missed opportunity?


    Yes!…


     https://www.complianceweek.com/blogs/the-man-from-fcpa/was-the-glaxosmithkline-fcpa-resolution-a-missed-opportunity#.V_2JVtw-04A

    Was the GlaxoSmithKline FCPA resolution a missed opportunity?

    Tom Fox | October 11, 2016

    The U.K. pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has resolved an outstanding FCPA matter for the conduct of its China subsidiary, GSK-China that settled an SEC investigation for a fine of $20 million, with no profit disgorgement—quite a favorable move for the company. Even more amazingly, the company received a declination from the Justice Department, even though it was under the equivalent of a Deferred Prosecution Agreement, called a Corporate Integrity Agreement, for the actions unrelated to its FCPA violations in marketing off-labeled marketed products.

    Of course these resolutions did not stand alone as the company had been sanctioned by the Chinese government with a fine of approximately $490 million back in 2014 for the actions of GSK-China. Company employees were criminally convicted and non-Chinese senior executives of the China business unit, who were convicted were deported from China. GSK’s sales in China went in the tank and continue to suffer through this date.

    Perhaps the U.S. authorities felt the company had suffered enough. However, in this age of increasing international enforcement, it may well be the SEC and Justice Department missed an opportunity to demonstrate how they would give credit for anti-corruption prosecutions, done by other governments, under local anti-corruption laws; such as was done by Chinese authorities with GSK-China. U.S. authorities could have not only cited to the successful use of domestic Chinese laws as an example in the international fight against bribery and corruption but also specifically stated that how the fine and penalty paid by GSK-China was considered in the calculation of the fine by U.S. regulators.

    Such an approach would have emphasized the U.S. government’s favorable outlook for greater international sanctions against corruption, as well as shown companies that they would not be whip-sawed by regulators across the globe for the same conduct. It could have been one of the most public examples of how the U.S. government viewed the international fight against corruption.

    I think an opportunity may have been missed. 

    GSK CEO, Andrew Witty Says: “Occassionally We Make Mistakes”…


    Pharm

    “…Then you’ve got actually, we do occasionally make mistakes. Things go wrong. We have inevitably of course, we go through all the processes with the regulators to get a drug to be as safe and effective as it can possibly be. But the reality is, every time a human takes a drug, it’s like a clinical trial. You don’t really know what’s going to happen. Everybody can react a different way…”

    I’m sure most people would be familiar with the film ‘The Devils Advocate’ with Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves. In the movie, Reeves is groomed into his dark corporate role by the Machiavellian Pacino- his boss and mentor. Unfortunately for Reeves his deal with the devil turns out to be just that.

    ‘The Devils Advocate’ is of course, a work of fiction, however, if you read though the stories and scandals of GSK over the past decade you could be forgiven for thinking you were reading a work of fiction; such is the scale and depth of GSK’s nefarious and suspect activities.

    From tax evasion, dodgy factories spewing out defective and contaminated products, to bribery, fraud, prostitutes in China (and that’s not just the doctors on the payroll), corruption, suppression of side effects of their meds – resulting in killing of consumers, Serious Fraud Office investigations, Department of Justice investigations, pay for delay deals, etc etc.

    The list goes on… and on… and on….

    GSK are as insidiously and (dare I say it)- as evil – as you would imagine any multi-billion dollar international corporation to be…

    But scarily- for you (and for me, and for the public)- GSK are real, they are not fiction and they make your toothpaste such as sensodyne, and your kids drinks like Ribena and Lucozade, as well some some really dodgy drugs like Seroxat, Avandia, Imitrex and Pandemrix…

    And lets not forget the barbaric Myodil.

    https://truthman30.wordpress.com/tag/splinters/

    GSK is recalling dozens of lots–3,977,252 tubes–made up of different varieties of Biotene and Sensodyne toothpaste, from the U.S., Puerto Rico and Taiwan. According to the FDA‘s most recent Enforcement Report, “fragments of wood were found when the product was extruded onto a toothbrush.” The toothpaste was actually manufactured for GSK by Oratech, a Utah-based contractor.


    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/lucozade-and-irn-bru-to-carry-hyperactivity-warnings-2034324.html

    “….The makers of two of Britain’s best-selling soft drinks, Lucozade and Irn-Bru, have been forced to warn parents that the drinks may cause hyperactivity. A newly introduced EU law compels both drinks to display a warning that they contain artificial colours linked to behavioural problems in young children..”


    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/sep/16/seroxat-study-harmful-effects-young-people

    “…An influential study which claimed that an antidepressant drug was safe for children and adolescents failed to report the true numbers of young people who thought of killing themselves while on it, re-analysis of the trial has found

    Study 329, into the effects of GlaxoSmithKline’s drug paroxetine on under-18s, was published in 2001 and later found to be flawed. In 2003, the UK drug regulator instructed doctors not to prescribe paroxetine – sold as Seroxat in the UK and Paxil in the US – to adolescents…”


    http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2013/05/23/steven-nissen-the-hidden-agenda-behind-the-fdas-avandia-hearings/#67f26f5717a3

    “..The most likely explanation: the leadership of the division of the FDA responsible for drug regulation, the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), is seeking to avoid accountability for its role in the Avandia tragedy. In 2005 and 2006, GSK secretly conducted an analysis of the cardiovascular safety of Avandia and concluded that the drug increased the risk of heart attacks and related events by about 30%. This observation had grave implications: two thirds of diabetics, the intended recipients of the drug, eventually die of cardiovascular complications. Initially, GSK withheld the internal analysis from the FDA, but in 2006, the company informed CDER of the findings. FDA statisticians confirmed the risks, but, incredibly, CDER and GSK agreed privately to conceal this hazard from patients and practitioners…”

    So be very careful when you ingest a GSK product because GSK are notoriously known for not telling you the truth about the products they sell you…

    And even if the GSK label says the side effects are blah, blah, blah… don’t rely on them to be honest in the PIL either..  they often omit a lot of the truth..  they are notorious for lying and deceiving, often adding side effects (for years later) to their products’ information leaflets- long after millions of people have ingested them…

    It’s easy to say, GSK are greedy, sociopathic, evil and callous, and they are (because most multi-billion dollar corporations are- they have to be because capitalism encourages them to be). However, it’s also easy to forget that GSK are a corporation run by people making the decisions for the company.

    So could we then apply the same characteristics of greedy, sociopathic, evil and callous to the people running GSK?

    Perhaps, in some cases, justifiably we can..

    Take for example  (outgoing) GSK CEO Andrew Witty…

    Before he was crowned CEO of GSK, Witty had worked in a number of roles in the company- many of them high level.

    Witty once promoted the highly controversial Zyban (an anti-smoking drug)-  (also known as  Wellbutrin and promoted as an anti-depressant):

    LONDON, UK — January 16, 2007

    “Wellbutrin XR is an important new medicine for doctors and patients in Europe,” comments Andrew Witty, president, GSK Pharmaceuticals, Europe.

    “Depression can be a crippling condition that is often difficult to treat.

    With its unique mode of action, Wellbutrin XR offers a real alternative to the depressed patient.

    We hope its profile will help patients stay on their therapy, which would address a significant unmet need in the area of antidepressants.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/nils-pratley-on-finance/2016/mar/17/glaxosmithkline-gsk-andrew-witty-neil-woodford-break-up

    “…It is even hard to say who is the leading candidate within the core pharmaceutical business. Is it Abbas Hussain, head of the division, or Patrick Vallance, head of research and development? And perhaps Emma Walmsley, boss of consumer healthcare, a bigger unit after being beefed via a shuffle of assets with Novartis, is a decent outside bet….”

    So how much did JP Garnier and Andrew Witty know about GSK’s bad behavior over the years they spent crawling up the greasy ladder within the company?

    I’d say they knew a lot..

    There is a rumor that that the next head of GSK might be Emma Walmsley..

    I wonder what price you have to put on your soul to become CEO of a company like GSK?

    “John Milton:..You sharpen the human appetite to the point where it can split atoms with its desire; you build egos the size of cathedrals; fiber-optically connect the world to every eager impulse; grease even the dullest dreams with these dollar-green, gold-plated fantasies, until every human becomes an aspiring emperor, becomes his own God… and where can you go from there? As we’re scrambling from one deal to the next, who’s got his eye on the planet? As the air thickens, the water sours, even bees’ honey takes on the metallic taste of radioactivity… and it just keeps coming, faster and faster. There’s no chance to think, to prepare; it’s buy futures, sell futures… when there is no future. We got a runaway train, boy. We got a billion Eddie Barzoons all jogging into the future. Every one of them is getting ready to fistfuck God’s ex-planet, lick their fingers clean, as they reach out toward their pristine, cybernetic keyboards to tote up their fucking billable hours. And then it hits home. You got to pay your own way”..

     

    (Al Pacino/John Milton- “The Devils Advocate”)

    Emma-Walmsley

    CH7YOanVAAANoD3

    http://fortune.com/most-powerful-women-europe-middle-east-africa/emma-walmsley-24/

    The London-based pharma exec runs the world’s leading over-the-counter pharma company—a $9.5 billion joint venture between GSK and its Swiss competitor Novartis, officially launched in March. Walmsley led the integration of the businesses, which resulted from a complex deal struck in April 2014. The company’s products are sold in 160 countries, with 42% of sales coming from emerging markets. In July, Walmsley, a lover of Italian red wine and Bikram yoga, was appointed to the board of Diageo. —Erika Fry

    Does Mark Reilly Still Work For GlaxoSmithKline?


    “…Herve Gisserot replaces Mark Reilly, who left China after four executives were detained in the nation last month. Gisserot was the senior vice-president of Glaxo’s European business.

    Reilly will become part of the drugmaker’s senior executive team in London, said Simon Steel, a company spokesman….”

    Regular readers of this blog, and followers of GSK news, would be aware of GSK’s Mark Reilly and his appalling role in GSK’s vast bribery network in China. Reilly got off with a suspended sentence, and was deported back to the UK. However, his behavior, was nothing short of sociopathic and criminal.
    Considering Mark Reilly’s involvement in the biggest bribery scandal of recent times in China, and considering that he disgraced British business in general I found it quite disturbing to learn that GSK have kept him on as an employee…
    His Linked in is still active also, and it seems he has been kept as a consultant or some such similar role perhaps…
    GSK..
    Pharmafia…

    MR1

    MR5MR3

     

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/sex-bribes-and-videotapes-see-glaxosmithklein-ex-boss-mark-reilly-deported-9745465.html

    “….GSK was ordered to pay the £297m fine – the largest the Chinese Government has ever handed out. It published an apology to “the Chinese government and the Chinese people” on its website, saying it had “reflected deeply and learned from its mistakes”.

    GSK’s China boss, Mark Reilly was given a three-year suspended prison sentence with a four-year probation period. He is to be deported from the country, although the drug maker said he remained in the country as he waited to hear if he had to spend his probation period in China.

    Mr Reilly and his Chinese girlfriend featured in a sex tape that was emailed to several senior executives of the drug maker last March. GSK then hired Peter Humphrey, a British investigator based in China, to look into the origin of the video. Mr Humphrey was jailed for two and a half years in August for illegally acquiring the personal information of citizens….’

    HG

    Blackmail, a sex tape and the fatal error that’s left a top British executive facing 20 years inside a hell-hole Chinese jail

    • Mark Reilly, 52, was a high-flying businessman with GlaxoSmithKline
    • Police raided GSK’s offices and questioned him amid bribery claims
    • In May he was formally accused of presiding over ‘massive bribery network’
    • It’s emerged that investigation was triggered by sex tape featuring Mr Reilly
    • ‘Regardless of facts, Mark Reilly will be found guilty,’ said one legal expert

    At first sight, it looks like any other casual family portrait: a middle-aged man, with grey hair and a square jaw poses proudly next to his two grown-up daughters.

    The fetching ‘selfie’ was uploaded to image-sharing website Instagram a fortnight ago by the girl standing at its centre, an 18-year-old student from Hertfordshire called Louise Reilly.

    ‘A bit late, but happy Father’s Day to my wonderful daddy,’ she wrote in the accompanying blurb. ‘I love and miss you every day.’

    Daddy's girls: Mark Reilly with daughters Louise (centre) and Jessica. Last summer he was cast into the epicentre of a scandal which would quickly and systematically destroy his picture-perfect existence

    Daddy’s girls: Mark Reilly with daughters Louise (centre) and Jessica. Last summer he was cast into the epicentre of a scandal which would quickly and systematically destroy his picture-perfect existence

    Louise took the picture at a cocktail party in December 2012, shortly after winning a place to study geography at Oxford University.

    Her elder sister, Jessica, who is 21, and studies history at Cambridge University, is standing to her left. Yet, as the statement she chose to accompany it hints, an air of sadness now surrounds this seemingly happy photograph.

    That’s because the middle-aged father so proudly showing off his high-achieving daughters is one Mark Reilly — a senior executive with British drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

    Mr Reilly, 52, was until recently a high-flying businessman with the world at his feet. A glittering 25-year career at GSK had left him dividing time between the Far East — where he ran the £76 billion firm’s Chinese operations — and the exclusive commuter town of Sawbridgeworth in Hertfordshire, where he lived with his wife Jill in a £1.2 million Grade II-listed 17th-century house.

    His daughters had been educated at Bishop’s Stortford College, a prestigious £25,000-a-year private school, where they excelled at sport, music, and drama, each achieving ten A* grades at GCSE, four A* grades at A-level and sailing into Oxbridge.

    Last summer, however, Mr Reilly was cast into the epicentre of a scandal which would quickly and systematically destroy his picture-perfect existence.

    It became public on June 27, when police in China organised a high-profile raid on GSK’s offices, amid claims that staff were illegally bribing doctors and healthcare officials to prescribe pharmaceutical products.

    A few weeks afterwards, they called Mr Reilly in for questioning. He was promptly banned from leaving the country, and has since spent most of his time in various forms of detention.

    Sadly, like anyone facing legal problems in autocratic China, Mr Reilly’s human rights have since been blithely disregarded by the authorities.

    High-powered: Mark Reilly's wife Jill, who also has a job at GSK. He faces 20 years inside a Chinese jail if found guilty

    High-powered: Mark Reilly’s wife Jill, who also has a job at GSK. He faces 20 years inside a Chinese jail if found guilty

    For months, he had only limited means to communicate with friends, family, and legal representatives, and was unable to see Louise, Jessica or Jill.

    Then, in May, this already perilous situation took a turn for the worse. At a police press conference in Changsha, a 90-minute flight west of Shanghai, Mr Reilly was formally accused of presiding over a ‘massive bribery network’ in which doctors and health officials were illegally paid £320 million over several years.

    In scenes reminiscent of a Soviet-era show trial, detectives aggressively dubbed him a criminal ‘Godfather’, who they claimed had greased palms with cash and free holidays, and arranged for associates to be given sexual favours from prostitutes.

    They refused to take sceptical questions from assembled reporters, instead reading a pre-prepared statement recommending that this supposed ‘criminal’ be prosecuted on multiple counts of bribery and fraud.

    The news conference deepened a scandal which had already knocked billions of pounds off shares in GSK, a leading FTSE-100 blue-chip firm held by many pension funds, and damaged Anglo-Chinese diplomatic relations in the process.

    In the cold light of day, it also represented a serious affront to justice, compromising a universal principle of fairness: that Mr Reilly should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

    In China an astonishing 98 per cent of court proceedings end in conviction, and this father-of-two now faces the likelihood of a criminal trial.

    ‘This is a politically charged case, and China’s politicians control the judiciary.

    ‘So regardless of the facts, Mark Reilly will be found guilty,’ says Professor Willy Lam, a leading expert on China’s justice system. ‘The question of whether he actually committed a crime will not really be considered. The government will also dictate how long the judges will imprison him for.’

    The British Consulate in China says it is following Mr Reilly’s case. Yet despite this, Professor Lam, a scholar at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, says that he will be effectively tried in secret.

    ‘There will be no jury. Just a judge and his assistants who decide the verdict.

    ‘There will be no media allowed in court, and no scrutiny of evidence. He may be allowed a few relatives and close colleagues present, and perhaps a UK diplomat. That is all.’

    As to his eventual fate, Professor Lam adds: ‘Given the amount of money involved, this is a very serious case, and Mr Reilly could easily be sentenced to life. I expect him to get around 20 years.’

    In any normal country, that would be bad enough. But this is China, home to one of the world’s most punitive penal systems.

    Indeed, the vast Tilanqiao Prison in Shanghai, where Reilly is likely to end up if convicted, is known locally as the ‘city of death’.

    Former inmates at the facility have told how guards carry cattle prods and force errant inmates to submerge their heads in buckets full of excrement and urine.

    In the notorious ‘punishment wing’, beatings are rife. Human rights groups have published lengthy critiques of torture methods practised there.

    So far, so ugly. But last weekend, this father-of-two’s plight became darker still.

    In an extraordinary development, it emerged that China’s police investigation into GSK had been triggered by the circulation of a covertly recorded sex tape, in which Mr Reilly featured.

    The video was secretly shot at the British businessman’s Shanghai apartment during 2012 and appeared to show him having extra-marital sex with a young Chinese woman.

    It was emailed to a range of senior figures at the drug company last January, as part of what appeared to be a bid to threaten or blackmail them.

    In a dramatic twist, I can reveal that the woman it depicted was a secretary who worked at a travel agency accused of helping GSK execute its ‘bribery’ scheme.

    Family man: Mark Reilly with daughter Louise. One legal expert said that, regardless of the facts, Mr Reilly will be found guilty because it is a ‘politically charged’ case

    Even without that tricky fact, the addition of a sex tape to an already snowballing corporate scandal was hugely embarrassing for GSK (which says it is ‘co-operating fully’ with the Chinese investigation), and deeply upsetting for Mr Reilly and his family.

    Yet its existence also, surely, suggests that someone, somewhere, is going to very great — not to mention underhand — lengths to bring him and the company down.

    Mr Reilly’s nearest and dearest certainly suspect so. Louise and Jessica are (on the advice of the Foreign Office) maintaining a dignified silence, for fear of further provoking the Chinese authorities.

    So too are Mark’s mother, brother and sister. However, close friends tell me they are increasingly convinced that Mr Reilly is the hapless victim of an organised sting. ‘Mark has certainly made mistakes,’ says a source with intimate knowledge of the case.

    ‘He has made bad decisions in his personal life, particularly this sexual indiscretion, and done the odd thing he regrets in business.

    ‘But is he some sort of master criminal? Of course he isn’t. Does he deserve to spend 20 years in jail? Absolutely not. It’s a terrible stitch-up.’

    The source said Reilly has been ‘in and out of detention’ for the past year, sometimes in formal custody, more often in hotels with police officers stationed outside his room.

    He remains an employee of GSK, but is able to have only ‘very limited conversations’ with either the firm, his lawyers, or even his daughters, who in an effort to lighten their mood have taken to calling themselves  ‘Team Reilly’.

    Dedicated: Mr Reilly was a company 'lifer' who joined the firm in 1989, shortly after leaving university. He and Jill had previously worked in the U.S. and Singapore before he was offered his role in China

    Dedicated: Mr Reilly was a company ‘lifer’ who joined the firm in 1989, shortly after leaving university. He and Jill had previously worked in the U.S. and Singapore before he was offered his role in China

    ‘The family’s first and only priority is to secure Mark’s safe return,’ the source said.

    ‘But this is China we are dealing with, so things don’t look good. For a man who had so much, it’s very, very sad.’

    Mr Reilly’s ill-fated Chinese adventure began in 2009, when he was offered a promotion to become general manager of GSK’s pharmaceuticals division there.

    A company ‘lifer’ who joined the firm in 1989, shortly after leaving university, he and Jill (who also has a high-powered executive job at GSK) had previously worked in the U.S, where Louise was born, and Singapore.

    With their then-teenage girls in secondary school, Reilly was reluctant once more to uproot his family, however. So he decided to move alone to Shanghai, where Jill and the children would join him in school holidays. On paper, the move represented a fantastic career opportunity.

    Though GSK is one of the world’s largest drug companies, its footprint in China is relatively tiny. Indeed, although the country boasts more than 1.3 billion citizens, and is growing dramatically wealthier, it still represents just 3.5 per cent of the firm’s global sales.

    Reilly duly set about dramatically increasing the firm’s revenues, setting ambitious sales targets for his mostly Chinese staff. But his eagerness to pursue those goals sparked friction with local authorities.

    ‘Like most companies in its field, Glaxo has a highly aggressive sales culture,’ says a Shanghai-based source with knowledge of the company’s operations.

    ‘Sometimes, that has got it in trouble with regulators.’

    ‘In China, it doesn’t work like that. Get caught, and you’ll go to prison’ – A Shanghai-based source

    A few years ago, for example, the firm was ordered to pay a record $3 billion (£1.7 billion) fine in the U.S. after being caught illegally paying doctors to prescribe dangerous drugs. ‘Mark was steeped in this culture, where you push the rules to the limit in order to succeed.

    ‘Sometimes, you overstep the mark, and the company has to row back, apologise, or even pay a fine,’ adds the source.

    ‘In China, it doesn’t work like that. Get caught, and you’ll go to prison.’

    Trouble began in 2012, when an anonymous whistleblower, thought to be a disgruntled GSK employee, began sending emails to China’s healthcare regulator, making wild allegations about sales practices.

    A total of 23 messages were sent, alleging that GSK staff were routinely bribing doctors and healthcare professionals with the authorisation of senior managers. However they were short on details. In January last year, the stakes were raised, significantly.

    An 11-page email was dispatched from the address ‘gskwhistleblower@gmail.com’. In its subject line it claimed to contain a ‘notification of bribery by GSK in China’.

    The email — a copy of which has been passed to the Daily Mail — alleged that the firm ‘has engaged in illegal marketing and large-scale bribery to sell its products to Chinese hospitals and doctors’.

    It claimed, among other things, that sales staff were wired £1,000 each month from a Citibank account to wine, dine, buy prostitutes for, and pay cash bribes to ‘key decision-makers’ in the purchasing departments of hospitals.

    The email named names and gave dates. It told how attempts were made to conceal payments, and accused the firm of doing little to prevent endemic bribery.

    It would later end up in the hands of the police, who appeared to quote it (at times verbatim) in May this year, while outlining potential charges against not just Mr Reilly, but 45 of his Chinese colleagues.

    ‘Is what the email alleges true? I have no idea,’ says the Shanghai source. ‘Even if it is, Mark didn’t know every detail of what went on. He hardly spoke Chinese, for starters.

    How could he have known? Shanghai is a very fast city. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that everyone’s a bit dodgy and you have to do dodgy things to get along. If the allegations are true, I could see how it could have happened. But he’s no crook.’

    Unfortunately, for Reilly, his case nonetheless struck a potent political chord. The Beijing government is attempting to crack down on a ‘backhander culture’ traditional in Chinese business circles, and GSK, as a wealthy multinational, makes an ideal target.

    ‘By coming down hard on someone like Reilly,’ says Prof Lam, ‘the authorities can show people that bribery is something they are taking seriously.’

    If that was indeed their aim, they were handed a further gift in March last year, when a second email was sent, from the same address, to a separate group of senior staff.

    This added details to corruption claims, claiming that doctors and their families were given free holidays in India, Brazil and Japan by GSK, under the guise of attending conference. Agencies were hired to organise luxury travel, and hand them thousands of dollars in cash as ‘speaking fees’, it said.

    Attached to the email was large computer file. It contained the tape of Reilly and his mistress. The video was shown to Reilly soon afterwards, during a visit to GSK’s headquarters in London.

    He promptly returned to Shanghai and hired a fellow British national, private investigator Peter Humphrey, to establish who had leaked it.

    That investigation was still ongoing in late June last year when police carried out their high-profile raid on GSK’s offices. Mr Reilly promptly flew to the UK, on a scheduled holiday.

    However several weeks later, he bizarrely decided to return to China to (as GSK put it) ‘help police with their inquiries’.

    That move, which of course led to his detention, has until now been shrouded in mystery, since it seems inconceivable a right-thinking British citizen facing any prospect of prosecution in a country such as China should freely travel there.

    However, I understand that Reilly was at least partly motivated to return in an ill-fated effort to suppress the sex tape.

    ‘At the time, you have to remember that Mark was a married man,’ says a close friend. ‘His wife did not know that he had committed any indiscretion.

    Posted on Monday 30 June 2014

    A year ago, we first began to hear about a GSK bribery scandal in China [an irreducible conflict…]. Pharmagossip has kept us up on the developments. Now this:
    Daily Mail
    By Hugo Gye
    29 June 2014

    A covert sex tape involving a senior executive and his Chinese lover was the trigger for a major investigation into corruption at British drugs giant GlaxoSmith-Kline, it was revealed yesterday. The video of married Mark Reilly and his girlfriend was filmed by secret camera and emailed anonymously to board members of the pharmaceutical firm. It led to an investigation that has rocked the £76billion company – which stands accused of bribing doctors and other health officials in China with £320million of gifts, including sexual favours from prostitutes, to persuade them to prescribe its drugs.

    Mr Reilly, who ran the company’s Chinese business, was charged six weeks ago with running a ‘massive bribery network’ involving £90million of illegal sales and banned from leaving the country. It was the culmination of a year-long corruption investigation into the FTSE 100 firm. But yesterday, it was revealed the scandal first erupted after the sex tape was emailed by ‘GSK whistleblower’ to board members, including chief executive Andrew Witty, in March 2013, in what was believed to be a threat or blackmail attempt. The footage showed father-of-two Mr Reilly, who is separated from his wife, having sex with his Chinese girlfriend.

    He was given permission to hire investigator Peter Humphrey, 58, to find out who had hidden the camera in his Shanghai flat and who had sent two separate emails making serious fraud allegations. The £20,000 probe, codenamed Project Scorpion, focused on disgruntled former employee Vivien Shi, 49, a prominent businesswoman whose family is part of Shanghai’s communist elite. But a few months after starting to investigate Miss Shi, Mr Humphrey was arrested along with his wife Yu Yingzeng, a US citizen and daughter of one of China’s most eminent atomic weapons scientists. According to the Sunday Times, Mr Humphrey’s arrest and detention in July was at around the same time that China began a police probe into GSK’s alleged bribery.

    Mr Reilly, 52, of Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, stepped down from his post as China manager soon after Mr Humphrey’s arrest but remains a GSK employee. He returned to Britain around the same time but voluntarily went back to China within days to assist police with their inquiries. He was charged in May this year and accused by police of presiding over a web of corruption and pressing his sales teams to bribe health officials to meet targets…
    hat tip to pharmagossip…  
    It feels odd reporting a story that seems like it belongs in a check-out line tabloid rather than a medical blog, but that’s where you end up if you follow the pharmaceutical industry. I reckon Reilly’s sex life is actually his business, but hundreds of millions in bribes is everybody’s business. And in this case, the charge is directed against an actual person:
    If found guilty, Mr Reilly, who has a PhD in pharmacology and neurosciences from University College London, could face life in prison. Mr Reilly joined GSK in 1989 and has worked in Singapore, Hong Kong and China. He is separated from Jill, 49, with whom he has two teenage daughters, and has moved out of their £1.2million home. It is understood he met Mrs Reilly at university, where she was studying psychology. Like her husband, she took up a post at GSK, working as a director of capital planning…
    Two things. First, it has long been the opinion of people watching the misbehavior of the pharmaceutical industry that until the executives in charge start heading off to jail, the corruption will continue under the cost of doing business rule. And so far, Reilly seems to be pretty vulnerable to Chinese justice and jail. Second, it’s inconceivable to me that payoffs of this magnitude could be made without being known all the way up the chain of command. These companies roll through money as if they’re small countries, but the numbers involved here are a good deal more than petty cash.

    In with no echo…, I was hypothesizing that by settling out of civil and criminal suits, the pharmaceutical companies avoid any verdict, and invariably quickly say “we admit to no wrongdoing” implying that they settled for who-knows-what reason [like admitting to the least ignoble of the charges]. In doing that, they dampen the incriminating story which then fades quickly – the anechoic effect [see echo echo echo echo echo echo…]. The most obscene version was GSK settling a $3B suit and signing this agreement – then writing a response in a letter to the Chronicle of Higher Education that denies admission of guilt [see the only enduring contract…]. The way this China-gate story is going, it doesn’t at this point look like that’s going to be an option. This is just plain old crime, and one that has the Chinese up in arms [as it should].

    And there’s more:
    Last month, Britain’s Serious Fraud Office announced it is to investigate the company’s ‘commercial practices’.

    GSK scientists indicted for trade secret theft


    GSK scientists indicted for trade secret theft

     

    Two scientists working at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in Pennsylvania, US, have been indicted for conspiracy to commit fraud and allegedly stealing confidential information related to its biopharmaceutical products. The indictment names five people, including scientists Yu Xue and Lucy Xi. If convicted of all charges, each defendant faces a range of punishments, including fines and possible prison terms.

    The indictment claims that Xue and Xi used e-mail and USB drives to transmit information about GSK’s procedures for researching, developing, and manufacturing biopharmaceutical products designed to treat cancer or other diseases. Xue and two of the other defendants had formed a company in China called Renopharma in July 2012, allegedly to market and sell the stolen trade secret information.

    Bob Fiddaman Nails Andrew Witty’s Cavalier Attitude About GSK’s Unethical Behavior


    “There have been warnings about paroxetine for a long time,” including a 2007 Food and Drug Administration advisory on the risk of increased suicidality when anti-depressants like paroxetine or imipramine are used to treat people age 18 to 24, according to Dr Jon Jureidini of the University of Adelaide in Australia. The authors of the 2001 study did not report this side effect, although the evidence was there, said Dr Jureidini, a co-author of the re-analysis.

    “A broad community of people around the world have raised concerns,” he told Reuters news agency.

    “Mistakes were made”…. thousands of kids killed themselves because of Seroxat…

    All in a day’s work for  GSK’s CEO Andrew Witty..

    Minor inconveniences on the road to hoarding his millions it seems…

    What’s a few thousand dead kids?

    As long as there’s no dent in profits.. that’s the bottom line isn’t it Witty?


    http://fiddaman.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/andrew-witty-art-of-deflection.html

    Wednesday, October 28, 2015

    Andrew Witty: The Art of Deflection.

    Sir Witty should have been a politician. Very adept at answering a question…with a question.

    Here’s a recent interview with Evan Davis, Presenter, Newsnight, BBC

    Skip to 29.40. Transcript for this section is below video.

    Transcript. 29.40

    Evan Davis
    I’m going to open it to the floor in a second, because we do want to leave half the session for the audience to ask questions. I’ll just finish with kind of a general reflection, because it is interesting, and it’s nice when you talk about the drugs and what they cure, what the treatments are. Don’t you find it very interesting that the pharmaceutical industry has a bad reputation? We read about the China corruption, we read about profits, we read about profiteering. It is an industry that saves lives, no one can dispute that. It’s an industry that produces pills that are completely transforming for people’s welfare. Yet, it’s actually not a terribly popular industry. I just wonder if you can explain that paradox. Is it that you’ve done bad things and that’s been recognized, or is there somehow something the public don’t understand about the industry that makes them feel negative about it? Or am I wrong in thinking there’s a slight [indiscernible] around it?

    Andrew Witty
    No, clearly – first of all, I think we are, slightly alongside any big industry, or any big institution, there is a bit of that. We are big companies, we’re global. Again, like any big organization, you’re vulnerable to your weakest link in the organization. So if something goes wrong, particularly in today’s social media world – I often think about what it must have been like to run a global company in the 1970s, where you had to wait for the ship to arrive to find out what happened on the other side of the world. Today, the Wall Street Journal calls you before you’ve even heard about something inside your own company. So I do think there is a certain phenomena where – and you see that across many, you look at it in politics, you look at it in newspapers. The hacking stories, all things like that. So I think it’s a bit of that. I do think – let’s be honest, nobody wakes up in the morning hoping that they’re going to need a drug from GSK. You don’t wake up in the morning thinking, actually, if it’s a really good day, I might be diagnosed to be ill and I might need a drug. So we’re not aspirational in that sense. So you start by saying, actually, I’ve got some bad news, because I’ve been told I’m not very well. They then said: we might have some good news, because there’s something we can help you with. Then in some countries, I have to pay for it. Or in Britain, you might go to the doctor and they say: actually, I’d like to give you this, but NICE have said I can’t. So then there’s a whole series of reasonably negative concepts around pricing. So there’s a bit of that. Then you’ve got – actually, we do occasionally make mistakes. Things go wrong. We have inevitably – of course, we go through all the processes with the regulators to get a drug to be as safe and effective as it can possibly be. But the reality is, every time a human takes a drug, it’s like a clinical trial. You don’t really know what’s going to happen. Everybody can react a different way. So on the one hand, what is the story of the drug industry? The story of the drug industry is wonder drugs. On the other hand, it’s danger drugs. Those are the two extremes that we have. It’s kind of unavoidable.

    Evan Davis
    But you’re saying there are bad apples, and it goes wrong. Is that right, or is it – for example, in the China case. Was it that there was a bad apple and it went wrong, or was it that that was normal behaviour in certain markets, and it just got called out in that particular case?

    Andrew Witty
    For obvious reasons, I’m not going to get into all the details of that.

    Evan Davis
    Was that behaviour actually something, or was it just a slight extension of behaviour that is normal?

    Andrew Witty
    I think the bigger question is, where do you want to go forward?

    Evan Davis
    No, but just answer that one.

    Andrew Witty
    There’s no doubt, if you ask the more general question – so there have been concerns over the years of, is the drug industry transparent enough? What’s the relationship of the drug industry with doctors? All of those are kind of concerns – let’s call them concerns or reasons for anxiety, whatever they are. Sometimes they’ve spiked up into real issues. What we’ve really tried to do, and we’re beginning to see some other companies, I think, following a similar direction, is we’ve said: you know what? We get that. We get that transparency is a cause of concern. People are worried that something is being hidden. We didn’t think there was but people – perception is everything, right? So what did we do? We came out and said: we will publish every single bit of clinical data we have in the company. We are the only company to do that at this point. Every single thing. If a researcher wants to know exactly what the data was on patient number – all anonymized, but on Patient 1002, in Clinical Trial 87, from 2002, we will give them that information. All the way through, we’ll do that. We’ve said we will stop all payments to physicians to speak on behalf of the company. It’s a perfectly legal practice, everything the company has done – but we stopped it all.

    Evan Davis
    But this is a recognition – there is a lot you’ve done to present these things differently. But it is a recognition that it was pretty dysfunctional before, isn’t it? Because publishing data, to me, honestly, doesn’t seem like a great achievement. It just seems to me that that’s what you should be doing with data. Not bribing doctors seems like a thing you would do.

    Andrew Witty
    I wouldn’t say it’s bribing doctors – it’s perfectly legal to pay. If you went to a physician and said, would you expect to be paid for speaking on behalf of somebody, they will probably say yes. Actually, in most countries in the world, it’s perfectly legal. However, there are risks it can be abused. People can make mistakes. And there are risks that there is a misperception. Just to your point on publication, do you think academics are mandated to publish their data? Do you think universities publish all their failed studies? They don’t, but we do.

    One box of chocolates for the first person to tell me how many times Witty deflects the questions put to him.

    **Footnote

    GSK were forced to be transparent, they didn’t just decide one day that they were going to be the first pharmaceutical company to “open it’s doors” (Halfway)

    This from the Department of Justice/GSK agreement

    “Among other things, the CIA also requires GSK to implement and maintain transparency in its research practices and publication policies and to follow specified policies in its contracts with various health care payors.”

    Also…

    “Moving forward, GSK will be subject to stringent requirements under its corporate integrity agreement with HHS-OIG; this agreement is designed to increase accountability and transparency and prevent future fraud and abuse.”

    I think the bigger question is why did Witty fail to mention that his company were forced to be more transparent.

    I’ll leave the last words to Witty…

    “It’s a perfectly legal practice, everything the company has done…”

    Bob Fiddaman.

    Original video here.

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