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Chinese Media Accuses GSK of Coordinating Bribes

A Chinese national flag is seen in front of a GlaxoSmithKline office building in Shanghai, July 2013.
Chinese state media say the bribery scandal involving British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKlein [GSK] was coordinated by the company and was not the result of employees acting on their own.

The official Xinhua news agency quotes a detained GSK executive, Huang Hong, as saying employees had to break the rules to meet unusually high company growth targets of up to 25 percent. The report says the investigation has discovered that GSK China only went through the motions of internal auditing so as not to discover violations.

No official investigators or prosecutors were directly quoted in the article, however, and the GSK executive has not been made available for interviews with foreign media outlets.

In a statement sent to VOA, GlaxoSmithKlein said “We remain deeply concerned by the allegations of fraudulent behavior and ethical misconduct in our China business. The reports published today relate to the ongoing investigation being conducted by the Chinese authorities. The issues identified would be a clear breach of our corporate values and we have zero tolerance for any behavior of this nature."

The company added it is fully cooperating with the Chinese investigation.

China has detained four GSK executives for alleged bribery as part of a series of investigations of foreign companies accused of illicit dealings in the country.

Chinese officials suspect the executives were bribing doctors, hospitals, government officials and others to boost sales and raise prices of GSK pharmaceutical products in China.