China Plans News Briefing on Glaxo Bribery Investigation

Chinese police will hold a news conference tomorrow to discuss bribery allegations against GlaxoSmithKline Plc.

“We are aware of this briefing,” London-based Glaxo said in an e-mailed statement today. “We take the allegations that have been made extremely seriously, and we are continuing to cooperate fully with the Chinese authorities in this investigation.” A spokesman declined to comment further.

China’s probe of Glaxo hurt the drugmaker’s sales in the country and spurred the company to burnish its reputation by changing the way it markets drugs. The company said in December it is changing the way it compensates salespeople and will stop paying doctors for giving speeches and attending medical meetings. Reuters reported earlier today that the Ministry of Public Security plans the press briefing tomorrow at 11 a.m. in Beijing.

In June, Chinese authorities began looking into allegations that Glaxo had funneled money through a local travel agency to pay bribes to doctors in return for prescribing its drugs. Executives were also alleged to trade in sexual favors and had spurious travel and meeting expenses amounting to 3 billion yuan ($482 million).

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