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China Accuses British GSK Official of 'Massive Bribery' to Promote Drug Sales

  • VOA News

FILE - A Chinese national flag is seen in front of a GlaxoSmithKline office building in Shanghai.

FILE - A Chinese national flag is seen in front of a GlaxoSmithKline office building in Shanghai.

Chinese police have accused a British executive of drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline of heading up a scheme to bribe doctors and hospitals.

Police say senior GSK vice president Mark Reilly ordered his staff to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to help promote sales.

Reilly is the first foreign employee to be accused of a crime during the ten-month investigation into the London-based company.

Two Chinese executives were also accused Wednesday of working with Reilly to bribe officials in Beijing and Shanghai to escape investigation.

It is not clear whether Reilly has been apprehended by police or whether he is even in China.

The case has been handed over to prosecutors. GSK has not commented on the charges, but previously pledged to cooperate with officials.

Four other Chinese employees of GSK have already confessed to bribery in the case, which has damaged the reputation of the drugmaker.

Corruption is rampant in China's healthcare sector. Doctors and hospitals frequently overcharge patients and accept kickbacks from drugmakers to help make up for budget shortfalls.

Beijing has promised to clean up the industry and spend more on health care, but the task has proven difficult.

The GSK investigation comes as the government targets several foreign companies for investigation on suspicion of price-fixing and other violations of consumer rights.
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