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Leaders' Statement

Nick Hirons

Senior Vice President, Global Ethics and Compliance


United Kingdom, Europe


Nick Hirons, Senior Vice President, Global Ethics and Compliance. GSK is a science-led global healthcare company, head quartered in the UK and operating in over 150 markets, with a mission to help people do more, feel better and live longer.


Private Sector Action in Tackling Corruption

GSK welcomes the London Anti-Corruption Summit and the principles of zero tolerance to corruption embraced by legislation, inlcuding the UK Bribery Act and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Tackling corruption, through adoption and consistent enforcement of appropriate standards can benefit international trade, emerging economies, communities and individuals. The Summit can provide a valuable spur for government action in addressing unacceptable practices, inadequate anti-corruption laws in their jurisdictions and endemic corruption that means valuable private investment in certain countries – often the most impoverished in the world – is lost.

Tackling corruption, however, is not solely the responsibility of governments. All players – including companies – must challenge themselves to look beyond simply operating within the law as a sufficient commitment to addressing corruption. In this respect, the Summit provides an ideal opportunity to focus on industry’s role in avoiding high risk practices and on innovation in business practices to reduce potential exposure to corruption.

GSK has a zero tolerance approach to bribery and corruption. We are committed to setting the right standards, to encouraging the reporting of misconduct through internal reporting and to taking firm action if we fall short of these standards. We recognise and are addressing concerns about pharmaceutical companies’ sales incentives schemes and the extent to which the way companies provide information and education to healthcare professionals (HCPs) may be perceived as creating a conflict of interest.

We have taken decisive steps to change the way we interact with HCPs and enhance our transparency in our engagement. These include being the first pharmaceutical company to decouple sales incentives from individual sales targets; our sales professionals are instead incentivised based on their technical knowledge and the quality of service they deliver to HCPs to improve patient care. We have also stopped paying HCPs to speak on our behalf about our prescription medicines and vaccines. We are, instead, leveraging new digital, personal and real-time applications to improve delivery of information to HCPs by our own medical experts on a peer-to-peer basis. In this way, we are looking to remove any perceived conflicts of interest associated with external speaker fees, while also reducing opportunities for corrupt payments.

There is scope elsewhere to make similar changes to traditional business practices. GSK therefore urges Governments attending the London Summit to challenge the private sector to explore how innovations in their business practices can contribute to reducing the potential for corruption.

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We are grateful to all the authors and contributing organisations within this Manifesto and to the partner organisations that helped to convene this landmark collection of anti-corruption statements from across a wide range of business and civil society leaders. The partners for the Leaders' Anti-Corruption Manifesto are The B Team, Thomson Reuters, the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption, the ONE campaign and the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council

This project is supported by a grant from the Omidyar Network.

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