In a surprising move this week, GlaxoSmithKline rehired Vivian Shi, a former executive suspected of making the fraud and corruption allegations against Glaxo that led to $500 million in fines to China in 2014.
Although the company never publicly accused Shi of being a whistleblower, she was fired from her position as head of government relations in China in 2012. This occurred after Chinese government agencies and Glaxo officials in the UK received anonymous emails that alleged fraud and corruption in Glaxo’s China operations.
Five Glaxo executives later were charged and given prison sentences in China for their involvement in bribing Chinese hospitals and doctors and channeling illicit kickbacks.
In 2012, Glaxo paid $3 billion to the US to settle a whistleblower case brought by Phillips & Cohen and other cases alleging off-label marketing and kickbacks. It was the largest healthcare fraud settlement ever made.
Following the US settlement and news about the corruption allegations in China, Glaxo said it made major changes to its sales program globally, including changing its sale incentive programs.