GlaxoSmithKline to pay $485 Million Fine for Bribery
British drug manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline has been fined $485 million by a Chinese court. According to the officials, the company was found guilty of bribing doctors and hospitals to use its products.
During the one-day trial, Chinese officials also sentenced Mark Reilly, who was the company's former manager in China, along with four other managers to prison. The managers' sentences, which involved up to four years of jail time, were suspended, however. Instead, the managers, except Reilly who will have to leave the country, must exhibit good behavior. All five managers have reportedly pleaded guilty and do not plan on appealing their sentences.
"GSK fully accepts the facts and evidence of the investigation, and the verdict of the Chinese judicial authorities. Furthermore, GSK sincerely apologizes to the Chinese patients, doctors and hospitals, and to the Chinese Government and the Chinese people. GSK deeply regrets the damage caused. GSK plc also apologizes for the harm caused to individuals who were illegally investigated by GSKCI [GSK China Investment Co. Ltd]," the company wrote in their statement according to TIME.
The company has stated that it will be working with authorities to prevent bribery in the future. GlaxoSmithKline will also modify how its employees work with health professionals as well as improve how it monitors payments and invoices.
This is not the first time that GlaxoSmithKline has been found guilty of illegal activity. In July 2012, the company had to pay $3 billion after the U.S. State Department discovered that it had marketed drugs for unapproved purposes.
"It's very hard to do business in the Chinese health care and pharmaceutical sectors without doing payoffs," David Zweig, the director of the Center on China's Transnational Relations at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, commented according to the New York Times. "Everyone else pays bribes. Glaxo just got caught."
The $485 million fine is the largest ever corporate fine in China.