GSK executives in China have confessed to corruption and tax related offences, according to the country’s security ministry.
The confessions come after China announced earlier this week it was launching a wide-ranging investigation into 60 pharmaceutical companies, GSK included, over alleged ‘economic crimes’.
The allegations include bribing doctors and officials in a bid to open new sales channels, and increase drug revenues.
It is also alleged that employees used fake receipts to violate tax regulations, a statement on the ministry’s website said.
The statement read: ‘After initial questioning the suspects have admitted to the crimes, and the investigation is ongoing.’
It also said police were carrying out investigations in Shanghai, Zhengzhou and Changsha, where GSK employees were detained two weeks ago on charges of fraud.
Speaking to The Guardian, a spokesman for GSK denied the charges, saying: "We take all allegations of bribery and corruption seriously. We continuously monitor our businesses to ensure they meet our strict compliance procedures. We have done this in China and found no evidence of bribery or corruption of doctors or government officials. However, if evidence of such activity is provided we will act swiftly on it.
"We are willing to co-operate with the authorities in this inquiry. But this is the first official communication GSK has received from the Public Security Bureau in relation to the specific nature of its investigation."
Beijing is currently in the process of investigating foreign companies across a whole host of industries, including Nestle and Danone, who have cut their infant milk formula prices recently after a major government investigation into alleged price-fixing.
Companies such as Apple and Volkswagon have also been investigated.
Image: GSK Headquarters in Brentford, UK. Photo: courtesy of Maxwell Hamilton