GSK cleans house in China as impact of 2013 compliance breaches lingers

Another shoe has been dropped on the GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) compliance scandal in China as 110 of its employees in the country face the ax, according to sources. The U.K.-based company acknowledged it had taken disciplinary action against the workers but did not elaborate.

GSK has said it would deal with staff members, mostly Chinese, who it said violated its values and conduct code. That was a reference to 2013 when China officials spotlighted GSK in launching a corruption crackdown in the country. The firm ended up paying $479 million in fines, the amount the China government said the drugmaker had doled out in bribes.

The company later said it had taken steps to monitor the expense-account claims of its employees who deal with government officials as it improved its compliance with China laws and regulations.

It added it had hired an independent law firm and outside consultants to help it turn around its China operations.

As for the firings, GSK said, "Where evidence of misconduct has been found, we take appropriate disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment."

GSK still faces separate probes under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the U.K. antibribery law related to the China bribery conviction.

- see the GSK email statement
- read the story at China Daily
- get the Reuters story
- here's Bloomberg's take