Glaxo Fired Employees in 2001 After China Bribery Probe

GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the U.K. drugmaker under investigation for bribery in China, fired employees in 2001 for similar behavior.

Glaxo hired PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct an investigation into allegations of corruption, leading the company to fire some workers, said Simon Steel, a spokesman, who said he didn’t know the specific number. The Financial Times, which first reported the 2001 investigation today, said about 30 employees lost their jobs.

“The specific matters occurred more than 12 years ago,” Steel said in an e-mailed statement. “We believe appropriate investigation and action was taken at the time.”

China began a probe last year into Glaxo’s sales practices in the country, detaining some of its employees there. In May, Chinese police handed the bribery case to prosecutors, accusing a British executive of ordering employees to illegally pay doctors, hospitals and medical associations to boost sales.

Glaxo said it is cooperating with Chinese officials and is conducting an internal investigation. The U.K. Serious Fraud Office has also opened a probe.

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