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Glaxo Says Probe Finds No Evidence of China Unit Bribery

GlaxoSmithKline Plc said it found no evidence of wrongdoing after completion of a four-month investigation into a whistle-blower’s claims of corruption and bribery at the drugmaker’s China business.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier today that an anonymous tipster made allegations that Glaxo’s sales staff in China was involved in widespread bribery of doctors to prescribe medication, in some cases for unauthorized uses, between 2004 and 2010.

“Glaxo takes all whistle-blowing complaints seriously and will investigate any allegation,” the London-based company said in a statement today. “Over the last four months, we have used significant resources to thoroughly investigate each and every claim from this single, anonymous source and have found no evidence of corruption or bribery in our China business.”

The report comes amid efforts to repair any damage to its reputation after London-based Glaxo, the U.K.’s biggest drugmaker, agreed last year to pay $3 billion to settle allegations that it illegally promoted prescription drugs and failed to report safety data in the U.S. Glaxo changed incentive compensation programs for U.S. sales representatives in 2011, eliminating the link between sales goals and bonuses.

Separately, Glaxo said earlier this week it has fired the head of Chinese research and development after discovering that a paper he helped write for the journal Nature Medicine contained data that had been misrepresented. A second individual has submitted his resignation and three others have been placed on administrative leave, pending a final review, the company said in a statement June 10 on its website.

The paper, published in 2010 and to be retracted from the journal, was from preclinical, early stage research and didn’t directly involve patients, Glaxo said. The paper is titled “Crucial role of interleukin-7 in T helper type 17 survival and expansion in autoimmune disease.”

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