U.S. drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) is “deeply concerned” about bribery accusations levied in a Shanghai newspaper on Thursday. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Britain’s pharmaceutical Goliath, is scrambling to resolve a bribery scandal in China that has already seen four executives arrested this month. Baxter International (BAX) admitted three weeks ago to expense violations at a Chinese joint venture.
But don’t expect any public relations offensive from Western pharmaceutical giants in China.
Frankly, says crisis control expert Jonathan Bernstein, they don’t really care.
“Certain industries that inherently have a bad reputation with the general public and rouse suspicions with regulatory industries and, depending on whether they’re getting money from them or not, certain politicians,” Bernstein told International Business Times on Friday. “Pharmaceuticals have always been up there with big oil and big tobacco.”
Knowing public scrutiny will do little to affect the demand for their products, he said he expects big drug companies in China that have not faced any recent charges — including Pfizer (PFE) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) — to be preparing tersely worded legal statements.