GSK to end payments to doctors as part of overhaul

GlaxoSmithKline announced Tuesday that by the beginning of 2016 it plans to end direct payments to health care professionals for speaking engagements or for attending medical conferences.

The company is also removing individual sales targets from its compensation program for its global sales force. The new compensation system is expected to be in place by early 2015. Under the system, sales professionals will be evaluated and rewarded for their technical knowledge, quality of service delivered and the overall performance of GSK’s business.

GSK, which is based in London but has its North American headquarters in Research Triangle Park, introduced a similar sales compensation program in the U.S. in 2011.

The moves come as GSK faces accusations that its employees in China bribed physicians. Last year, the company also agreed to pay $3 billion in fines for promoting its best-selling antidepressants for unapproved uses and failing to report safety data about a top diabetes drug.

“These are designed to bring greater clarity and confidence that whenever we talk to a doctor, nurse or other prescriber, it is patients’ interests that always come first,” GSK CEO Andrew Witty said in a statement. “We recognise that we have an important role to play in providing doctors with information about our medicines, but this must be done clearly, transparently and without any perception of conflict of interest.”

GSK said it would increase efforts to find alternative ways to provide information about its products.

GSK employs about 4,000 people in RTP. It also has about 600 workers at its manufacturing plant in Zebulon.