GSK aims to stamp out sharp marketing

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Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline is to employ hundreds more doctors as members of staff as it seeks to build a new sales model designed to eliminate sharp marketing practices.

The group, which has been hit by bribery claims, said the move follows a decision to cut commercial ties with outside doctors.

Chief medical officer James Shannon said the group expects to increase its in-house team of physicians by 10 to 20 per cent over the next year or so from around 1,500 at present.

Britain’s biggest drug maker believes it has a blueprint that will put GSK ahead of rivals when it comes to ethical behaviour.

The group is currently investigating claims that bribes were paid to doctors in Poland, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, following a much larger case of alleged bribery in China.

Chinese authorities have accused GSK of funnelling up to £287m to doctors and officials to encourage them to use its medicines in a case that the company has described as “shameful”.

Dr Shannon, the man charged with overhauling relations with the medical community, said that changing fundamentally the way GSK interacts with doctors will require “a lot of work”.

The firm aims to become the first to stop paying outside doctors to promote its products.