Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline has been fined $492 million for bribing doctors and health officials in China. The Chinese court also sentenced the company’s former China manager, Briton Mark Reilly, and four Chinese co-defendants to prison. These sentences have been postponed, however, because ‘the defendants confessed’. The fine is the largest such penalty ever imposed by a Chinese court and stems from an allegation that almost half a billion dollars was channelled through a travel agency for use by GSK sales people.

Reilly was accused by police of operating a “massive bribery network.” He allegedly ordered GSK sales teams to pay doctors, hospital officials and health institutions to use GSK’s drugs.

Glaxo has already stated it will pay the fine. It has also stated that it will review its incentive schemes and reduce its involvement with healthcare professionals.

“We have and will continue to learn from this,” said CEO Sir Andrew Witty in an official statement. Glaxo has previously stated that the actions, which apparently started in 2009, took place without its knowledge.

We have previously reported that a private investigator, Briton Peter Humphrey had been jailed in China. Hired by GSK, he was accused of illegally trafficking personal data. GSK said Humphrey was hired to look into a security breach, not bribery. But apparently Humphrey had reported that the bribery allegations were true.

However, GSK announced in June 2013 that a four-month investigation of bribery allegations had found no wrong doing.

GSK paid the largest ever fine of $3 billion for similar offences in the USA and still faces similar charges in other countries such as Poland and Jordan.

Other drug companies now face similar scandals in China.

, , , , , , ,

GlaxoSmithKlein – an endemic culture of fraud?

GSK the UK pharmaceutical to deodorant company is fast making a name for itself with brand values that include bribery, fraud and corruption, plus a fair smattering of junk science thrown in for good measure.

You would think that one bribery case would be enough to force the board to review its whole business strategy worldwide – especially as getting caught in America was extremely serious. The criminal fraud case involved a variety of drugs and issues such as making false claims, ‘exaggerating’ research conclusions, telling lies and bribery. That case in America cost them $3 billion plus change. Well, it was the largest fraud case in medical history. At this point, most boards of companies would be looking at themselves and putting ‘best practice’ into place to avoid any chance of a repetition.

But it doesn’t seem quite like this at GSK. Over the past months allegations of fraud, bribing doctors and even sex scandals have emerged in the great frontier market of China. A whistleblower sent an e mail in January alleging that doctors were sent expensive gifts and even cash. They would be invited to attend conferences, which were really all-expenses-paid holidays. (Isn’t this exactly what happens in Europe and America?). And payments were allegedly channeled through a ‘travel agency’ business. Hardly dodgy at all, really.

After a Private detective, Peter Humphrey, hired by GSK to investigate a smear campaign against them, reported that he thought claims might well be true and he himself was jailed this week for buying and selling private information, the likely outcome in China looks not much better than it did in America. Chinese authorities have filed criminal charges of bribery, corruption and fraud against Mark Reilly, the former head of GSK operations in China with the Serious Fraud Squad crawling all over the company – the UK is now helping their Chinese counterparts.

Such allegations, if proven, would also bring the American Authorities back into play. The US Dept. of Justice is now looking into possible breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Britain may also investigate as it has a new ‘Bribery Act’.

But now GSK faces new corruption claims in Syria where it is alleged to have bribed doctors and officials to drive sales. Of course, there are some that would say that GSK was just being caught up in politics, given the war and views on Britain held locally. But then GlaxoSmithKlein is also being investigated for bribery in Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Poland.

GSK has issued a statement saying that they are ‘committed to taking disciplinary actions’ if guilt is proven and that they have ‘zero tolerance’ of unethical behavior. One wonders quite who it is that has the ‘zero tolerance’?

And isn’t this all huff and puff? Par for the course? Peter C. Gotzsche, a Danish Medical researcher and leader of the prestigious Nordic Cochrane Centre has written a complete review of the atrocities that Big Pharma routinely get up to in his book, Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma has Corrupted Healthcare (first published 2013; ISBN 9781846198847). You can guess the atrocities he talks about. Anyone with an open mind knew them long ago.

We have covered GSK in Junk Science before – that time they had been in top medical journal, BMJ, with the finding that 80% of flu vaccine research did not hold up to proper scrutiny.

We also covered this: Just a decade ago Dr. Allen Roses the worldwide Vice President of genetics and a top executive of the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline stated simply that “The vast majority of drugs – more than 90% – only work in 30 to 50% of the people.”

Isn’t that the crux of the problem? If GSK made wonderful drugs that worked for the majority of people, why would doctors need to be bribed to use them? Maybe the drugs aren’t that wonderful; and/or maybe all the competitors are playing the same games too?

, , , , , , , , , ,


Largest Pharmaceutical Misconduct Settlement in US History as GSK Fined Over $ 3 Billion
Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline will pay $3 billion and plead guilty to federal charges to resolve a slew of criminal and civil issues stemming from its use of kickbacks, misbranding and other misconduct to market drugs such as Paxil, Wellbutrin and Advair, the U.S. government announced.

The agreement is the largest health care fraud settlement in US history according to the Justice Department. It’s also the largest payment ever by a drug company. The settlement is “unprecedented in both size and scope,” said James M. Cole, deputy attorney general, in a statement.

“Today brings to resolution difficult, long-standing matters for GSK,” said Chief Executive Sir Andrew Witty in a statement. “Whilst these originate in a different era for the company, they cannot and will not be ignored. On behalf of GSK, I want to express our regret and reiterate that we have learnt from the mistakes that were made.”

GSK apparently promoted drugs for previously unapproved uses, including advertising Paxil for children, no matter that the antidepressant had not be approved for anyone under the age of 18.

Matt Kozar on ABC News said that GSK was “marketing the medicines for off-label uses in order to boost profits” for the company. The company also failed to report some safety problems with the diabetes drug, Avandia, including the fact it “sharply increased the risk of heart attacks and congestive heart failure” in some patients. Since 2007, the FDA has added warnings to Avandia label to alert doctors to these risks. GSK even sponsored dinners and spa programs in the drug’s name, prosecutors said.

Glaxo also used sham advisory boards and speakers at lavish resorts to promote depression drug Wellbutrin as an option for weight loss and a remedy for sexual dysfunction and substance addiction, according to the government. Customers were urged to use higher-than-approved dosages, the government added.

The health care giant was also accused by prosecutors of advertising off-label uses for asthma drug Advair, seizure medication Lamictal and nausea treatment Zofran while also making false claims about the safety and usefulness of such drugs.

The government also accused Glaxo of offering kickbacks to medical professionals, dangling cash, trips to Florida, and tickets to basketball games as incentives to promote and prescribe its drugs.

Glaxo also submitted incorrect prices for its products to the government, allowing it to underpay rebates owed to programs such as Medicaid, prosecutors said.

The company will plead guilty to three federal criminal charges, two of them for introducing misbranded Paxil and Wellbutrin drugs and one for not reporting safety data about the cardiovascular effects of diabetes drug Avandia to the Food and Drug Administration.

Two whistleblowers (Thomas Gerahty, a former senior marketing development manager and Matthew Burke, a former regional Vice President) provided the government with overwhelming evidence that was at the heart of the government’s case against GlaxoSmithKline.

Gerahty, Burke and Phillips & Cohen, who represented them, worked closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston and the Justice Department after filing their “qui tam” (whistleblower) case in early 2003 in Boston’s federal district court.

Gerahty and Burke gave the government new and detailed information about Glaxo’s nationwide improper marketing practices, including the use of financial inducements to doctors to prescribe Glaxo’s

Damages and civil penalties will account for $2 billion, while $1 billion is a criminal fine.


Sources: Washington Post, Natural News, Bloomberg and others

For an update on the blatant bribery and other dodgy actions of Glaxo in an exclusive interview with one of the ‘whistleblowers’ visit http://www.naturalnews.com/036499_Glaxo_whistleblower_bribery.html


, , ,