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SFO to investigate GlaxoSmithKline

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Last Updated: May 29, 2014

The Serious Fraud Office is set to investigate British drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline’s so called commercial practices.

The drug company is already under the limelight for alleged bribery in certain countries. But according to GSK, it will fully cooperate with the UK fraud body.

GSK has a short statement saying it is committed to do business following the utmost ethical standards. However, the giant drug company didn’t comment if there are any specific incident that triggered SFO’s criminal investigation.

Just early this month, the Chinese authorities claim that staffs of GSK are bribing hospital and government officials in the oriental country.

Another issue concerning one of UK’s biggest companies is also under heavy inquiries for bribery allegations in Iraq and in Poland. According to the allegations, the pharmaceutical company may have violated certain laws such as the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the UK Bribery Act. These laws state that it is illegal for US- and UK- based companies to bribe government officials or employees in foreign countries.

The Serious Fraud Office had confirmed that it has started a criminal investigation on GlaxoSmithKline’s commercial practices. SFO is also investigating GSK’s subsidiaries. The UK fraud body encouraged anyone from the inside to approach them and provide information, because according to the agency, whistle blowers are an important source of vital information to the case.

In April, one of the whistle blowers surfaced. Former GSK sales representative said the company bribes doctors in Poland, where he was assigned. GSK bribed doctors to promote Seretide, a drug that treats asthma.

According to reports, there were 11 doctors in the Polish region and GSK managers who were charged with alleged corruption back in 2010 to 2012. Just last July there were executives in GSK’s China branch that were investigated by the country’s authorities.

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