Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline is to have its “commercial practices” investigated by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). The British company, which is already facing allegations of bribery in several countries, said it would “co-operate fully” with the SFO.
Earlier this month, Chinese authorities accused GSK staff of bribing government and hospital officials in the country. GSK refused to comment on whether the SFO’s criminal investigation was connected to any specific incident. In a short statement, the firm said it was “committed to operating its business to the highest ethical standards”. The pharmaceutical giant, which is one of the largest companies in the UK, is also facing inquiries into similar allegations in Poland and Iraq. If the allegations are proved, GSK may have violated both the UK Bribery Act and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. It is illegal for companies based in the US or UK to bribe government employees abroad.