Glaxo paying $20M to resolve SEC charges of China bribery

GlaxoSmithKline PLC has agreed to pay $20 million to resolve U.S. regulators' allegations that the pharmaceutical giant's China operations bribed officials to boost drug sales.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlement of civil charges Friday with the British-based company, known as GSK. The company neither admitted nor denied the allegations of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits bribery of foreign government officials or company executives to secure or retain business.

The SEC said that between 2010 and 2013, employees of GSK's China-based subsidiary and a joint venture in the country channeled money and gifts to officials, including health care professionals. The bribes generated millions of dollars of increased drug sales to China's state-run health institutions, the agency said.