LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb said on Tuesday it had stopped “certain initiatives” in China, when asked by Reuters to comment on industry chatter it was curbing financial incentives for prescribing doctors.
Payments to healthcare professionals in China are under intense scrutiny after GlaxoSmithKline was slapped with a record $490 million fine for bribery in 2014.
Industry sources cited reports on Chinese social media that Bristol-Myers had announced a clampdown on the use of expenses and speaker fees for doctors.
Reuters could not immediately verify the reports but a company spokesman said in an emailed statement: “Bristol-Myers Squibb has voluntarily stopped certain initiatives in China as the company continues to review its activities and build upon its business model in China.”
Last October, Bristol-Myers agreed to pay $14 million to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange claims its joint venture in China made cash payments and provided other benefits to healthcare providers in China in exchange for prescription sales.
Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Martinne Geller