Glaxo to Pay $20 Million SEC Fine Over Bribery in China

  • China fined pharmaceutical company $489 million for bribery
  • SEC says Glaxo had similar improper conduct in other countries

GlaxoSmithKline PLC agreed to pay $20 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to settle allegations that a Chinese subsidiary of the pharmaceutical company bribed foreign officials to increase product sales.

The subsidiary and another joint venture provided the officials with gifts, travel and shopping excursions from at least 2010 to June 2013, according to a statement Friday from the agency. Throughout the period, Glaxo failed to maintain sufficient internal accounting controls and an anti-corruption compliance program, which led to instances of similar improper conduct in other countries, the SEC said.

The company agreed to give the SEC status reports for the next two years on its implementation of those anti-corruption measures.

“The SEC investigation was conducted with full cooperation from GSK, and GSK has agreed to the resolution without admitting or denying the allegations,” Sarah Spencer, a spokeswoman for Glaxo, said in an e-mailed statement.

China fined London-based Glaxo $489 million in 2014, the biggest corporate penalty ever at the time, and imposed a suspended prison sentence on an executive for bribing doctors. The U.S. had been looking into whether the company violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it a crime for companies operating in the U.S. to bribe government officials outside the country for help in getting or keeping business.

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