Pharmaceuticals Group GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has funnelled bribe money to Chinese officials and doctors through travel agencies and consultancies in order to drive up the selling prices of its products in China. The (event) agencies sent GSK invoices for conventions and incentives that never came to pass. Millions disappeared like this, lining the pockets of doctors who are all too eager to prescribe GSK's pills.
Since 2007, GSK has deposited 3 billion yuan (370 million euros) into the accounts of 700 travel agencies and consultancies, says Gao Feng, the head of the anti-fraud division at the Ministry of Public Security of China. "We have sufficient reason to believe that those transfers were made illegally. The travel agencies and GSK might as well be called 'partners in crime'."
According to the Chinese Government, local managers at GSK have since copped to their corruption, albeit without providing too many details. The company reported that it has broken off all ties with the travel agencies under investigation. "We too share the sentiment of Chinese authorities in eradicating corruption", GSK says. "These allegations are embarrassing and we regret that this has happened."