GlaxoSmithKline has met with Chinese officials to tackle the bribery scandal engulfing the firm and acknowledged that some executives have indeed been involved with illegal activities.

Abbas Hussain, GSK's president of Europe, Japan, emerging markets and Asia Pacific, flew to China last week and has had "a very constructive meeting with the Ministry of Public Security" in the country. The latter has been looking into "serious economic crimes" and last week said bribes were generally paid through travel agencies or as "project sponsorships". GSK is also suspected of being involved in tax-related crime, "involving a large number of people and significant amounts of money".

In a statement sent to PharmaTimes World News, Mr Hussain said that  "we are very grateful for their time", adding that "GSK is taking this situation extremely seriously and that is why we are here". He went on to say that "certain senior executives of GSK China who know our systems well, appear to have acted outside of our processes and controls which breaches Chinese law. We have zero tolerance for any behaviour of this nature.".

Mr Hussain added that “I want to make it very clear that we share the desire of the Chinese authorities to root out corruption wherever it exists. We will continue to work together with the MPS and we will take all necessary actions required as this investigation progresses".

He also noted that "we fully support the efforts of the Chinese authorities in their reforms of the medical sector and stand ready to work with them". Specifically, Mr Hussain said that "we will actively look at our business model to ensure we make a significant contribution to meeting the economic, healthcare and environmental needs of China and its citizens".

Price cut pledge

He concluded by saying that savings made as a result of changes made to the operational model "will be passed on in the form of price reductions, ensuring our medicines are more affordable to Chinese patients". The company will be announcing its quarterly financials later this week and chief executive Sir Andrew Witty is expected to comment on the situation in China.