If you happen to be British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), there’s some good news for you, and some bad. The bad news is that Italian authorities are pressing on with their allegations that place you right in the middle of a bribery ring involving nearly 5000 doctors and employees in Italy.
Tax police are preparing charges following a two-year investigation in Verona. Charges will range from giving and receiving illicit compensation for prescribing or recommending a specific drug through to corruption and criminal association.
Although investigations started in Verona, they eventually spread to all 94 provinces of Italy, and involved the careful monitoring of doctors throughout the country.
According to the allegations, doctors were being bribed to prescribe expensive drugs to patients when they were not always the best treatment.
So, the good news? Well, in the Italian case, you’re not alone. Investigations have now turned to other drug companies including Pfizer, Sanofi and Sigma Tau.
And wait! There’s even more good news! You know you’ve been sweating on the findings from a similar investigation by German officials? Well, they’re not pressing charges. Again, you were right in the middle of investigations into bribes to hospital doctors. Up to nine pharmaceutical companies are being investigated, and GSK was one of them. But German officials have confirmed that no charges will now be made against you.
(Source: British Medical Journal, 2004; 328: 1333).