Britain’s biggest drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline is facing fresh bribery allegations after an anonymous tip-off claimed the firm was paying doctors and officials to boost sales of its medicines.
GSK — whose executives are under investigation for bribery in China — is also facing corruption allegations in its non-prescription business in Syria.
But an anonymous email sent to GSK’s chief executive Sir Andrew Witty and head of the pharmaceutical giant’s audit committee, Judy Lewent, reads: “GSK has been engaging in multiple corrupt and illegal practices in conducting its pharmaceutical business in Syria.”
The email, which was seen by Reuters, claims Syrian staff paid medical officials to push medicines including ones to treat cancer and to prevent blood clots.
Brentford-based Glaxo said: “All the claims in this email will be thoroughly investigated as part of our ongoing investigation into operations in Syria.” It has suspended business with its Syrian distributors.
The Serious Fraud Office has launched a formal criminal investigation into GSK’s overseas activities, after it faced bribery claims in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Poland as well as China. The US Department of Justice is also investigating GSK for possible breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.