More MNC Pharma Players Come Under China's Anti-Bribery Scrutiny

At least four more multinational drugmakers are being investigated by China for alleged corruption, a Hong Kong-based lawyer whose firm advises companies on cross-border anti-corruption told Bloomberg.


“We are aware of four pharmaceutical companies who are facing” investigation by local anti-corruption units, said the lawyer, Wendy Wysong. Wysong declined to identify the companies.


The revelation comes after senior executives of the Chinese subsidiary of British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) "confessed to serious commercial bribery and tax crimes" following an investigation by China's Ministry of Public Security.


The ministry found that in recent years, GSK China Investment used various channels like travel agencies to bribe without restraint government officials, drug associations, medical foundations, hospitals and doctors.


GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK)’s sales in China jumped 20 percent to about 1 billion pounds ($1.5 billion) last year, almost quadruple the pace of growth across its emerging markets, reports Bloomberg. Police say bribes and sexual favors spurred the gain. 


“The medical system is a disaster zone when it comes to high-level corruption,” Willy Wo-Lap Lam, an adjunct professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong who studies the politics of that country in a telephone interview with Bloomberg.


Lam says that foreign drugmakers in regular contact with Chinese officials overseeing the health system are an obvious target for anti-corruption probes.



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