LODZ , Poland, April 17 (UPI) -- Poland’s criminal investigation into whether doctors were bribed to prescribe the asthma medication Seretide has led to charges against 11 doctors and the British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline. If the allegations are proven in court, GSK may have violated British and American laws that make it illegal for companies based in either country to bribe government officials in other countries.
Jarek Wisniewski, a former GSK sales representative, said, “We pay doctors, they give us prescriptions. We prepare an agreement for them to give a talk to patients. We pay 100 (English) pounds ($167), but we expect more than 100 prescriptions for this drug. It’s a bribe.”
He added the payments were ostensibly for educational reasons but the doctors understood a certain amount of prescriptions were expected.
The public prosecutor in the city of Lodz found evidence of corrupt payment practices in over a dozen health centers where no examples of patient education occurred. One doctor has already pleaded guilty.
In 2012 the company paid $3 billion to settle the largest health care fraud case in U.S. history after it pleaded guilty to promoting two drugs for unapproved uses and failing to report safety information about a diabetes drug. It was also embroiled in a corruption scandal in China in 2012.