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GSK accused of bribing doctors in Poland

Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, courtesy of Wellcome Trust via YouTubeGlaxoSmithKline is facing a criminal investigation in Poland for allegedly bribing doctors there between 2010 and 2012.

The BBC’s “Panorama” program reported Monday that the British pharma is accused of paying doctors to promote GSK’s asthma drug Seretide.

Thirteen people have been charged by Poland’s anti-corruption bureau. Polish prosecutors said they have evidence to support the claims of payments to 13 health centers, the BBC reported.

Already dealing with allegations that it bribed doctors in China, the company admitted in a statement Monday that it had brought in private detectives in 2011 to investigate the Polish claims.

“We continue to investigate these matters and are co-operating fully with the CBA,” GSK said in its statement, referring to Poland’s Central Anti-Corruption Bureau.

The company said a GSK employee was disciplined in relation to the Poland allegations.

In the Panorama program, a former GSK sales rep told the BBC that payments were recorded as “educational services” but doctors understood that the money was intended to increase prescriptions of certain GSK medicines. 

In December 2013, to promote greater transparency, GSK said it ended the practice of paying doctors to promote its drugs through speeches. It said it also ended individual targets for its sales force.

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Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.

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