GlaxoSmithKline is investigating fresh bribery allegations reported by Reuters concerning its operations in Syria.

The news agency published details of an anonymous internal email containing claims that Syrian doctors were bribed with cash, trips and free samples to help boost cancer and blood-clotting sales. Just last month, similar allegations emerged about its consumer business in the country.

GSK said that “we have zero tolerance for any kind of unethical behaviour and we welcome people speaking up if they have concerns about alleged misconduct”. It added that all the claims in the email “will be thoroughly investigated using internal and external resources as part of our ongoing investigation into operations in Syria”.

The UK-based giant stated that “we have suspended our relationship with our distributors in the country pending the outcome of our investigation”. Syria is not a major market for GSK, with sales of less than £6 million, but the latest disclosures are a fresh blow to the firm and follows similar bribery allegations in Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Poland and, most dramatically, China.