|"...the company’s own investigations have found that the extent of the bribery scandal is significantly less than what the Chinese government contends." - Andrew Witty, GSK CEO|
Trouble is escalating in China over the GlaxoSmithKline kickback scandal. Never fear though, GSK's CEO and former Zyban spin doctor, Andrew "all part of an era" Witty, is on hand to douse the flames.
The Chinese government have accused British pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline, of paying almost $500 million in bribes, mainly to doctors who prescribed its products.
That's some allegation and one that has been denied robustly by GSK.
This coming on the back of Glaxo's $3billion fine in the US last year, a fine paid at the end of years of robust denial that they did anything wrong.
Hmmm, you see a pattern here?
China's Ministry of Public Security are alleging that the British giant siphoned an estimated $489 million in bribes through almost 700 travel agencies with the intention to influence doctors to prescribe more of their drugs, this practice is more commonly known as 'kickbacks'. Glaxo, it's alleged, also arranged for doctors to receive sexual services from prostitutes. Ooo er, Fried Tofu Curd Balls, anyone?
After initial denial Glaxo are now claiming that senior China executives acted outside of its “processes and controls” and broke Chinese law. Just Chinese law then?
Chinese authorities have arrested four GSK employees, namely; legal affairs director Zhao Hongyan, vice president and operations manager Liang Hong, human resources director Zhang Guowei, and business development manager Huang Hong. Hong having already gone on Chinese television and admitting to the crimes and explaining how the scheme worked, including the use of fake conferences and travel agencies to create receipts for services that were never performed. The surplus funds were allegedly then used to pay bribes.
GSK's CEO Andrew Witty, who last year played down the $3billion fine slapped on his company for kickbacks and promotion of drugs off-label, must be totally embarrassed by the current state of affairs at Glaxo.
Witty, now claims that the allegations appear to be true and feels.“personally deeply disappointing,”
Witty, of course, wouldn't be Witty if he didn't play down the allegations.
He claims that there are control mechanisms in place to prevent bribery and other forms of corruption, but that the methods these individuals used “would have been difficult to find using our controls.”
In other words GSK's control mechanisms simply don't work, a bit like the drugs they manufacture, huh?
Witty, using his much beloved spin, also claimed that he still believed GlaxoSmithKline controls are robust, and the company’s own investigations have found that the extent of the bribery scandal is significantly less than what the Chinese government contends. Well, they would Andrew wouldn't they. If Glaxo investigate Glaxo for crimes then Glaxo will be vindicated. It's akin to a serial killer investigating his own behaviour and concluding that although he went on a four year murdering spree it wasn't as bad as prosecution was alleging.
More on Witty's statement HERE