News / Asia

Drug Company Executives Detained in Chinese Bribery Probe

The logo of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is seen on its office building in Shanghai, China,July 12, 2013.
The logo of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is seen on its office building in Shanghai, China,July 12, 2013.
VOA News
China has detained four executives of British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline for alleged bribery as part of a series of Chinese investigations of foreign companies accused of illicit dealings in the country.

The Chinese Ministry of Public Security identified the four detained executives on Monday, saying they are Chinese nationals with senior management roles at GSK's Chinese division.

Chinese state media said last week that GSK executives were under investigation for bribing doctors, hospitals, government officials and others to boost sales and raise prices of GSK pharmaceutical products in China.

Public security ministry official Gao Feng provided details of the alleged bribery scheme in a briefing to reporters on Monday. He said Chinese police suspect the GSK managers of colluding with 700 travel agencies and other companies to channel bribes to the Chinese medical personnel and officials.

Gao said authorities were investigating transactions between GSK and its alleged co-conspirators going back to 2007, with the deals having a total value of up to half a billion dollars.

GSK's London headquarters issued a statement expressing disappointment at what it called "serious allegations of fraudulent behavior and ethical misconduct" by  employees and third parties.

GSK pledged to cooperate fully with the Chinese investigation and said it acted immediately to stop working with the Chinese travel agencies identified in the investigation so far.

Last week, the British firm said it had found "no evidence of bribery or corruption" by its staff in dealings with Chinese doctors and officials.

Chinese state television broadcast footage of police questioning one of the detained GSK executives in the south-central city of Changsha on Monday.

Authorities also allowed a state television reporter to speak to the executive, GSK China vice president and operation manager Liang Hong. He told the reporter that his company used the Shanghai Linjiang International Travel Agency to channel funds meant for "dealing with government departments." He did not explicitly admit to bribery.

In a separate report, state news agency Xinhua said it interviewed an employee of the travel agency mentioned by Liang. It said agent Weng Jianyong admitted to accepting business opportunities from GSK China in return for paying kickbacks to the GSK managers.

Xinhua quoted Weng as saying Liang used some of the kickbacks to cover the cost of bribing Chinese officials and health experts to boost GSK's own business.

China has targeted several foreign companies for investigation in recent months on suspicion of price-fixing and other violations of consumer rights.

The targeted companies include European food makers Nestle and Danone, which are under Chinese scrutiny for allegedly setting artificially high prices for infant milk formulas.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs