GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is investigating allegations of bribery in Iraq as the company still reels from corruption charges in China.
The company is alleged to have hired Iraqi state-employed physicians and pharmacists as paid sales reps in efforts to boost product use.
The Wall Street Journal reported the news after reviewing a series of internal emails about the matter.
Via the Wall Street Journal:
A person familiar with Glaxo’s Mideast operations emailed the U.K. drug company late last year and earlier this year to report what the person said were corrupt practices in Iraq, including continuing issues and alleged misconduct dating from last year and 2012.
The person familiar with Glaxo’s Mideast operations emailed the company saying, “I believe GSK practices in Iraq violate the FCPA and the U.K. Bribery Act.” The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act addresses bribery of foreign officials by U.S. businesses or foreign corporations trading securities in the U.S.
The acts are similar to the company’s alleged behavior in China, which include allegations that physicians were bribed.
GlaxoSmithKline has previously disclosed in SEC filings that the US Justice Department has been investigating it since 2011 — all part of a probe into overseas behavior of pharmaceutical companies.
“We are investigating allegations of improper conduct in our Iraq business. We have zero tolerance for unethical or illegal behavior,” a company spokesman told Reuters.
The investigations are ongoing.
GSK stock is down 2.6% year to date.