Fresh off paying a record $483 million fine in China, British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is facing corruption allegations yet again, this time in Romania. GSK announced they were investigating the latest claims of bribes which were detailed in a whistleblower's email late last week.
The email alleges that Romanian doctors were paid up to thousands of euros from 2009 to 2012 for the prescription of prostate medicine Avodart and Duodart, in addition to the Parkinson’s disease medicine Requip. Doctors were also paid for speaking engagements that never occurred, or in some cases many payments received when only one speech was made.
Following a guilty plea in the U.S. case in 2012, the company paid a record $3 billion in fines in addition to pledging in 2013 that it would no longer pay doctors to promote its drugs or attend medical conferences, and that its sales staff would no longer have prescription targets. With the current list of alleged bribery incidences, it would seem they have not found a viable new business strategy outside of bribery.
GSK isn’t alone in its industry, with Pfizer having paid a $2.3 billion fine in 2009 for off-label marketing of its arthritis drug Bextra. Also a repeat offender, Pfizer at the time had settled with the U.S. Department of Justice three other times in the previous 10 years. With health care spending showing no signs of slowing, more bad behavior looks likely.
Poland, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq are all investigating the Glaxo for similar allegation in what appears to be a widely accepted corporate culture of win at all costs.
GSK refused to comment on the other ongoing investigations.