WASHINGTON – GlaxoSmithKline PLC has agreed to pay $20 million to resolve U.S. regulators’ allegations that the pharmaceutical giant’s China operations bribed officials to boost drug sales.
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlement of civil charges Friday with the British-based company, known as GSK. The company neither admitted nor denied the allegations of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits bribery of foreign government officials or company executives to secure or retain business.
The SEC said that between 2010 and 2013, employees of GSK’s China-based subsidiary and a joint venture in the country channeled money and gifts to officials, including health care professionals. The bribes generated millions of dollars of increased drug sales to China’s state-run health institutions, the agency said.
The company sells medicines and health care products in at least 150 countries.
Under the settlement, GSK also agreed to provide reports to the SEC for two years on the actions it takes to ensure compliance with the anti-corruption law. The SEC said the company failed to institute and maintain an adequate system of accounting controls and that it lacked an effective anti-corruption compliance program. The improper payments in China weren’t accurately recorded on GSK’s books, the regulators said.