GlaxoSmithKline is overturning a blanket ban on payments to doctors promoting its medicines, now allowing the practice under certain circumstances.

In December 2013, in the wake of a widely-publicized bribery scandal in China, the firm said it would stop making direct payments to individual healthcare professionals (HCP) for attending medical conferences, instead funding education “through unsolicited, independent educational grant routes”.

Now, the drug giant is updating its policy “to ensure we continue to operate responsibly and improve how we help prescribers to understand new data and clinical experience with our innovative products, so they can deliver better outcomes for patients”.

Under the updated policy, GSK will in certain circumstances allow payments to global expert practitioners who speak about the new science behind its products, their associated diseases and clinical practice in promotional settings.

The firm said it would also pay reasonable travel costs (except in the US) for a HCP to attend a GSK-organised standalone meeting to learn about data and clinical expertise, as well as registration fees for HCPs to attend remote congress webinars/webcasts.

However, the group stressed that it will continue to not sponsor HCPs to attend local and international conferences.

The changes, it said, apply to GSK’s Pharmaceuticals and Vaccines businesses, and ViiV Healthcare, “and are in full compliance with applicable regulations and laws”.