Drug company GSK says Q4 profits nearly triple despite drop in China sales amid bribery case

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LONDON – GlaxoSmithKline says fourth-quarter earnings nearly tripled and sales rose 5 per cent, even as an ongoing investigation hurt business in China.

Net income rose to 2.5 billion pounds ($4.1 billion) from 848 million pounds a year earlier, thanks partly to profits on the sale of some businesses. Sales grew, particularly in India, despite a 29 per cent drop in China for pharmaceuticals and vaccines.

The company has been hit by allegations by the Chinese government that four of its employees bribed doctors and hospitals to prescribe medications.

Chief Executive Andrew Witty said Wednesday the company is making fundamental changes to its business, including how it interacts with customers.

The company said in December that it would stop paying doctors to promote its products at speaking engagements and scrap individual sales targets.

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