[April 04, 2014]
LONDON (Reuters) —
GlaxoSmithKline, facing allegations of bribery in China, has
dismissed some employees in the country over failure to comply with
expenses rules, a person familiar with the situation said on Friday.
Britain's biggest drugmaker declined to detail the
move but confirmed it had stepped up monitoring of expenses claims,
resulting in action being taken against some employees.
The closer staff surveillance in China follows accusations by
Chinese authorities in July that GSK funneled up to 3 billion yuan
($483 million) in expenses to doctors and officials to encourage
them to use its medicines.
"We routinely monitor and check expenses claims to ensure they
adhere to our policies. Since the start of the investigation by the
authorities, we have increased this monitoring in China," a company
"Where we have found potential issues, we are thoroughly reviewing
them and have withheld incentive payments where appropriate."
The company declined to specify the number of staff involved in the
crackdown but the source familiar with the matter said it was a very
small proportion of the company's total workforce in the country of
GSK has previously said some of its senior Chinese executives
appeared to have broken the law. It has also said it has zero
tolerance for bribery, calling the allegations in China "shameful".
The corruption claims have taken a toll on GSK's
business in China which, through small, had been growing fast.
Before the scandal, GSK's China sales had risen 14 percent
year-on-year in the three months to end-June, but revenue in the
country plunged 61 percent in the third quarter and 29 percent in
the final quarter of 2013.
($1 = 6.2107 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by David Holmes)