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Eli Lilly investigated for bribery and corruption in China

ELI LILLY AND COMPANY LOGO

Eli Lilly is the third foreign pharmaceutical firm to become embroiled in Chinese corruption scandals in as many months.

United States pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co became the third foreign drug company to be hit with bribery and corruption scandals in China, joining Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and France’s Sanofi which faced similar scandals over the past two months.

A representative of Eli Lilly stated that the company is “deeply concerned” about allegations that the company paid more than RMB 30 million ($4.90 million) over a period of around one year from 2011 to 2012 to bribe doctors in China to prescribe the the company’s drugs over rival products.

These allegations were published in 21st Century Business Herald, a China newspaper, with an anonymous source stating that bribery and illegal payments at Eli Lilly’s China operations were widespread.  The report coincides with multiple government Chinese investigations into the pharmaceutical sector, spanning alleged corruption related to drugs pricing.

Eli Lilly has 3,600 employees in China, which represents nearly 10 percent of the company’s global workforce. The company sells key insulin products, as well as treatments for depression, cancer, osteoporosis and schizophrenia.

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