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GSK scandal punishment must act as deterrent | Updated: 2013-09-09 17:22

Hundreds of hospitals in China are implicated in the GlaxoSmithKline bribery scandal but loose regulation is also to blame and tougher measures to supervise the industry are welcomed, said an article in the Beijing News (excerpts below).

Hundreds of hospitals implicated in the GSK case highlight how inadequate the regulations are. Related departments have long turned a blind eye to the situation.

According to several GSK executives, in 2009 the company set up a special clientele that involved high-ranking hospital staff and doctors. It offered inducements, including sponsorship to academic conferences, to bribe doctors in exchange for using its medicine.

This involved hundreds of hospitals. The bribery blitz occurred shortly after the new general manager came to China and decided to put sales first regardless of the cost.

Bribes come at a cost not just to reputations. Patients had to pay more for medicine.

Punishing the company is important while punishing those who accepted bribes is equally important.

But no information was released of the hospitals or doctors implicated, let alone if they were punished yet.

An insider said "bribery and kickbacks are the unspoken rules in the pharmaceutical industry".

Investigations must be carried efficiently and openly. They must be transparent, not just to punish the guilty but to send a warning that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.

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