July 22 - GlaxoSmithKline says that some of its executives in China appear to have broken the law as part of a major bribery scandal that has ensnared the British drugmaker. Sonia Legg reports.
A confession of sorts from GlaxoSmithKline's Abbas Hussain. The drugmaker's head of emerging markets was sent to China last week after a bribery scandal During a meeting with Public Security officials in Beijing he apologised and said certain senior executives from GSK China appeared to have broken the law. He promised savings made would be passed on in the form of price reductions to ensure medicines were more affordable to Chinese patients. And he said the British firm had a zero tolerance approach to law-breakers. GSK is the latest in a string of multi-nationals to be targetted by Chinese authorities over alleged corruption, price-fixing and quality controls. Last week police visited the Shanghai office of another British drugmaker AstraZeneca - one employee was taken in for questioning. The Shanghai office of Belgian drugmaker UCB was also visited last week. And the wider investigation is far from over. China has long been known for a culture in which drug companies make payments to doctors. The money they make from prescriptions offsets their meagre salaries. But the practices are increasingly at odds with a government crackdown on corruption, leaving companies struggling to toe the line while not losing business.