GlaxoSmithKine Investigates Alleged Bribery in Iraq

10.04.2014 -

U.K. drugmaker GlaxoSmithKine (GSK), already facing corruption accusations in China, is now investigating allegations of bribery in Iraq, the company has confirmed.

The latest controversy involves claims that GSK hired Iraqi government-employed physicians and pharmacists as paid sales representatives to improperly boost use of its products.

"We are investigating allegations of improper conduct in our Iraq business. We have zero tolerance for unethical or illegal behaviour," a company spokesman told the news agency Reuters.

GSK employs fewer than 60 people in its pharmaceuticals operation in Iraq and the allegations relate to a small number of individuals in the country, the spokesman added.

Britain's biggest drugmaker was accused by Chinese authorities in July of funneling up to $483 million to doctors and officials to encourage them to use its medicines.

GSK sales in China, where the company has a staff of around 7,000, plunged in the wake of the scandal and it has recently dismissed some employees in the country and withheld bonuses from others as it seeks to root out wrongdoing.

While a number of major drugmakers have faced investigations into their overseas practices under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), GSK's problems in China have been unusual in being spearheaded by local Chinese officials. In the meantime, the company has stopped the practice of paying doctors to speak on its behalf.