GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is facing criminal charges in Poland over accusations it has been bribing doctors in the country.
The share price of the drug manufacturer is down this morning (April 14th) after a BBC Panorama investigation found GSK is accused of bribing 11 doctors.
A GSK regional sales manager has been charged along with the 11 doctors in connection with corruption offences. If found guilty, GSK may have violated both the UK Bribery Act and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
A former sales rep for GSK in the Polish region of Lodz, Jarek Wisniewski, claimed that doctors were paid to promote GSK's asthma drug Seretide.
He said: "There is a simple equation. We pay doctors, they give us prescriptions. We don't pay doctors, we don't see prescriptions for our drugs. We cannot go to doctors and say to them, 'I need 20 more prescriptions'.
“So we prepare an agreement for them to give a talk to patients, we pay £100, but we expect more than 100 prescriptions for this drug. It's a bribe.”
Investigation uncovers evidence of bribes
Following an investigation, the Lodz public prosecutor found evidence that GSK had made corrupt payments to doctors working in more than a dozen different health centres across the area.
Spokesman Krzysztof Kopania said: “In return for the financial gains the doctors would favour the product proposed by the pharmaceutical company and they prescribed that medicine."
One of the doctors to have been caught has admitted he took a bribe. He was given a suspended sentence, as well as a fine. He said: "They kept tempting, and I am just a man."
Investors responded negatively to the news GSK is allegedly involved with bribing doctors, with the share price of the firm falling steadily in the early stages of trading this morning.
By 08:15 BST, stocks in the company were around one per cent down on the start of the week on the London Stock Exchange.
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