China has accused the former head of GlaxoSmithKline’s operations in that country and two other employees of ordering subordinates to bribe doctors and health care officials in an effort boost the company’s revenue, news outlets including The Wall Street Journal and the FCPA Blog reported Wednesday.
According to the Journal, officials from China’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) alleged at a press briefing that Briton Mark Reilly, who joined the U.K.-based drug maker’s China operation in 2009, ordered the bribes “on a large scale.”
Two of Glaxo’s Chinese executives, Zhang Guowei and Zhao Hongyan, were also charged, the FCPA Blog reported, adding that all three face life in prison.
Gao Feng, the Chinese ministry official leading the Glaxo probe, claimed that the company’s sales have jumped since Reilly began working in China, and that Glaxo was charging as much as seven times more for its drugs the county than it was in other markets, the Journal reported. He also said that Glaxo had tried to disrupt previous bribery investigations.
“Glaxo’s acts of bribery penetrated all aspects of the company’s business operation,” Gao said, according to the Journal.
Reilly couldn’t immediately be reached, according to the Journal, which reported that that he is apparently in China.
In a statement, Glaxo responded by saying it had met with MPS officials and would continue to cooperate with agency’s investigation. “We take the allegations that have been raised very seriously,” the statement said. “They are deeply concerning to us.”
Gao was complimentary of Glaxo’s cooperation, the Journal reported. The company “has held a responsible attitude,” Gao said, while passing the job on to prosecutors. It is “now the duty of the prosecutors and the court to deal with it,” Gao said.