GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) dismissed staff in China back in 2001, in a case that predates wider allegations of corruption against the UK’s biggest pharmaceuticals company in the country by more than a decade.
About 30 staff in GSK’s vaccines business were dismissed for bribing Chinese officials, the
reported, after they were found to be involved in bribing Chinese officials and taking kickbacks.
The emergence of the scandal could put the operations of the company in China under increased scrutiny.
US and UK authorities are already investigating GSK for a much bigger corruption scandal in China, involving what Chinese police have said were elaborate schemes to bribe doctors and hospitals.
GSK said in a statement it had ‘zero tolerance’ for any form of unethical behaviour. “We investigate any allegations put to us and take action where necessary,” the company said. “The specific matters occurred more than 12 years ago. We believe appropriate investigation and action was taken at the time.”
In May, Chinese police said that they had charged the former British boss of the company’s China business, Mark Reilly, and other colleagues with corruption. US authorities are investigating GSK for alleged violations of US anti-bribery laws in China following the corruption accusations.
The UK’s Serious Fraud Office has also launched a formal criminal investigation of the company’s activities.
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