GlaxoSmithKline said Tuesday it is investigating allegations of corrupt payments in the United Arab Emirates.
The UK’s biggest pharma confirmed the investigation following allegations of improper payments set out in a whistleblower’s email sent to its top management Monday, Reuters said.
The email apparently came from a GSK sales manager in the UAE.
Last month GSK paid a fine in China of $490 million following a conviction for bribery. The company published a Chinese-language apology on its website.
In April this year, GSK said it was investigating allegations that it hired government-employed doctors and pharmacists in Iraq to serve as paid sales reps for its products.
The company is also investigating alleged bribery of doctors in Jordan and Lebanon.
Polish authorities have said they are investigating alleged bribery of doctors by GSK representatives.
The UK Serious Fraud Office opened a criminal investigation in May into alleged overseas bribery by GSK.
The U.S. DOJ and SEC contacted the company in 2010 about possible violations of the FCPA in China and other countries..
On Tuesday, a GSK spokesperson told Reuters: “As we have already said, we are undertaking an investigation into our operations in the Middle East following complaints made previously. This investigation continues and these specific claims were already being investigated as part of this process.”
French pharma Sanofi said Monday it is investigating possible illegal payments in the Middle East and Africa from 2007 to 2012 following allegations from an anonymous whistleblower.
The GSK whistleblower in the UAE “claimed that the British company made direct payments to healthcare professionals, hospitals, clinics and pharmacies to secure business,” Reuters said.
The whistleblower said GSK paid for “educational meetings — regardless of whether or not they took place — as well as schemes to pay customers for taking prescription drugs by giving them bonus over-the-counter products.”
“We have zero tolerance for unethical behaviour and we welcome people speaking up if they have concerns about alleged misconduct. We are committed to taking any disciplinary actions resulting from the findings,” the GSK spokesman said.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.