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China Fines British Drugmaker Nearly $500 Million

FILE - In this July 24, 2013 file photo, a Chinese flag is hoisted in front of a GlaxoSmithKline building in Shanghai, China.

A Chinese court has fined British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline $490 million and sentenced its British former country manager and others to prison for bribing doctors and hospitals to use its products.

The official Xinhua news agency said the fine, imposed Friday by a court in Changsha in central Hunan province, is the biggest penalty ever imposed by a Chinese court.

The court also sentenced Mark Reilly, the former head of GSK in China, and other executives to between two and four years in prison.

Police accused Reilly of ordering GSK employees to bribe hospitals, doctors and health institutions to gain billions of dollars in illegal revenue.