Chinese police charged GSK's former China boss,
Briton Mark Reilly, and two other colleagues with corruption on
Wednesday after a 10-month probe found the firm made billions of
yuan from bribing doctors and hospitals.
Healthcare is a highly sensitive area in China and has become a
focal point for President Xi Jinping's attack on corporate
graft, with a number of global and Chinese drugmakers coming
under the spotlight for corruption.
"GSK's practices eroded its corporate integrity and could cause
irreparable damage to the company in China and elsewhere. The
case is a warning to other multinationals in China that ethics
matter," Xinhua said in an English-language editorial.
Xinhua's commentaries are often seen as reflective of the
Officials at GSK in China did not immediately respond to
requests for comment.
Britain's biggest drugmaker so far has not been charged with any
crime although lawyers said that by charging Reilly, who was
GSK's legal representative in the country, authorities were
leaving the door open for a charge against the firm.
Any bribery charges against GSK could mean the cancellation of
its business licenses, crippling its operations in a major
growth market for Western pharmaceutical giants.
GSK could also incur huge fines, while Reilly himself - who
sources say was caught off-guard by the allegations - faces
decades in jail if the charges are upheld as expected.
Lawyers said the charges were the most serious corruption case
against a major multinational firm and a senior expatriate
executive in China's history, and are a wake-up call for other
foreign firms in the country.
Foreign firms in China are firming up compliance efforts in the
wake of the GSK investigation, executives and lawyers said.
The last major corruption scandal to hit a foreign company in
China involved miner Rio Tinto in 2009, which resulted in four
executives including a Chinese-born Australian being jailed for
between seven and 14 years.
(Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Kazunori Takada and
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