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GlaxoSmithKline profits nearly triple in Q4

LONDON (AP) -- GlaxoSmithKline says fourth-quarter earnings nearly tripled and sales rose 5 percent, even as an ongoing investigation hurt business in China.

Net income rose to 2.5 billion pounds ($4.1 billion) from 848 million pounds a year earlier, thanks partly to profits on the sale of some businesses. Sales grew, particularly in India, despite a 24 percent drop in China.

The company has been hit by allegations by the Chinese government that four of its employees bribed doctors and hospitals to encourage them to prescribe medications.

Chief Executive Andrew Witty said Wednesday the company is making fundamental changes to its business, including how it interacts with customers. The company said in December it would stop paying doctors to promote its products at speaking engagements and scrap individual sales targets.

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