GlaxoSmithKline faces bribery charges in Poland
April 15, 2014
UK pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline has been accused of allegedly bribing doctors in central Poland to promote GSK's asthma drug Seretide following the investigation launched by Polish prosecutors.
Poland's Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA), said on Monday that 13 people had been charged in connection with the allegations.
The case was first reported by the BBC Panorama TV program, which said that the investigation included 11 doctors and a GSK regional manager, charged over alleged corruption between 2010 and 2012.
A former GSK sales representative in the central Polish city of Lodz said on the BBC program that doctors were paid to give speeches and then expected to increase prescriptions.
“Although on paper the payments were for educational services, the doctors understood very clearly that they must produce a certain number of prescriptions in return”, he said.
Lodz public prosecutor spokesman Krzysztof Kopania told BBC Panorama: "We have evidence to claim in more than a dozen cases it was a camouflaged form of a bribe. In return for the financial gains the doctors would favor the product proposed by the pharmaceutical company and they prescribed that medicine."
GSK revealed on Monday, only after BBC report, that it had conducted an internal investigation as to the Polish claims in 2011 and "found evidence of inappropriate communication in contravention of GSK policy by a single employee. GSK said the employee had been disciplined and it was co-operating fully with the CBA.
The newly disclosed probe comes as GSK faces separate allegations its employees bribed doctors in China and Iraq.
In 2012, GSK paid a $3 billion fine in the largest healthcare-fraud settlement in U.S. history after pleading guilty to promoting two drugs for unapproved uses.