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Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Penny Drops for GSK's Private Investigator.







GSK's former hired private investigator, Peter Humphrey, has hit the nail firmly on the head in a recent interview with the BBC.

Humphrey and his wife, Yu Yingzeng, were  released from a Chinese prison early last month after each serving close to two years, a sentence that was based on charges of "illegally obtaining private information." 

Humphrey is now back in the UK after being deported from China and, it seems, he is ticked off at GSK.

Humphrey was hired by GSK after top bosses had received a series of anonymous emails alleging corruption within its Chinese business. Claims of bribery were sent to government agencies around China where it was alleged that the corruption was rife and that GSK senior management had endorsed it.

One such manager was Mark Reilly who, ironically, was the centre of investigation for Humphrey when he was called upon by Glaxo bosses.

GSK and Reilly were subsequently fined, Reilly was deported back to the UK and, unlike Humphrey and Yingzeng, was spared prison time.

I covered the whole Chinagate scandal extensively on this blog and, at first, I had little sympathy for Humphrey. Yet as the story unfolded it became obvious, to me at least, that Humphrey and his wife were being used by GSK. Humphrey now, it seems, is thinking along those same lines.

In an exclusive interview with the BBC, Humphrey said, “Someone asked me recently why someone like Mark Reilly (GSK China’s boss) could be set free and we were in jail. I think it’s very simple, we don’t have half a billion dollars. That story was about money from the beginning. Money got them into trouble and money got him (Reilly) out.”

Bingo, Mr Humphrey!

I think that statement from Humphrey pretty much sums up how GlaxoSmithKline have operated throughout the years. One only has to look at the recent $3 billion dollar fine imposed on GSK after they pleaded guilty to a series of fraudulent misdemeanors in the United States. Those misdemeanors were based around GSK wanting more money (via illegal promotion of drugs and backhanders to healthcare professionals) - All that money spent meant a bigger return for GSK. And what got GSK out of trouble? Well, once again it was money. A $3 billion fine and, once again, no jail time.

Litigation against GSK in the states has seen them payout billions of dollars in settlements. It works for GSK because that's what litigation is all about - it's about both parties resolving matters and not about one party being punished.

So, now we have Peter Humphrey who has had a taste of GSK, a bitter taste that saw him serve almost two years in prison. (13 months of those two years had been spent on remand at Shanghai’s Pudong District Detention House)

Who has committed the bigger crime here?

Humphrey was incarcerated because he, or rather the business, ChinaWhys, owned by he and his wife, had purchased mobile phone records, customs information and household registration details over a four-year period. This is similar to companies obtaining information about you and I without our consent. It's modern day business and is very common. One only has to subscribe to a website to see how this works. Sign up to any major website and all of a sudden you may receive emails from companies that you have never heard of. In a nutshell, the information you provided when subscribing has been passed on (for a price). It's marketing at work in the same way that you get cold-callers offering the latest in kitchen units or double glazed window offers. Your phone number has been sold to these cold-calling companies.

Okay, it's an annoyance but did it really warrant two years in a rat infested prison?

As for GSK, well, their crime wasn't selling or obtaining information but, when you dig deep, you will find that GSK and other pharmaceutical companies know exactly the prescribing habits of doctors - they know what he/she prescribes and how often they prescribe it. Isn't this similar to the crime Humphrey and Yingzeng were incarcerated for?

Here's what GSK were fined for in China (remember, no jail time was served)

In September, last year, GSK were handed down a fine of $489 million by Chinese authorities for paying bribes to doctors to use its drugs. In a written apology GSK wrote, "GSK Plc has reflected deeply and learned from its mistakes, has taken steps to comprehensively rectify the issues identified at the operations of GSKCI, and must work hard to regain the trust of the Chinese people."

Here's the interesting bit. GSK's future commitments in China include investment in Chinese science and improved access to medicines across the country through greater expansion of production and flexible pricing.

The words "Secret Deal" spring to mind.

Here we have a company that were found guilty of funneling millions of dollars to travel agencies to facilitate bribes to doctors and officials.

Basically, GSK  funneled over $400 million through 700 travel agencies and consultancies across China - this means that GSK created  fake "conference services" as expenditure, the money was then used to bribe doctors. The case against GSK involved many staff, with bribes offered to Chinese government officials, medical associations, hospitals and doctors. All of the above was overseen by GSK's Mark Reilly.

Jail time for Humphrey and his wife. Slap on the wrist for Mark Reilly.

Yeh, that kinda makes sense, right?

If Peter Humphrey has any evidence that GSK defrauded the US government via its Chinese business then he has a potential whistleblower suit in the making. Let's hope both Humphrey and his wife find Karma.


Bob Fiddaman


The full BBC interview with Peter Humphrey can be viewed here.

**Hat-tip - Truthman Blog**


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