Glaxo says China drugs sales slump on bribery probe

British pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline announced on Wednesday a drop in quarterly net profits, while sales slumped in China where the group has been rocked by a state bribery probe.

Profit after tax dropped 12 percent to £969 million ($1.56 billion, 1.14 billion euros) in the three months to the end of September compared with the third quarter of 2012, GSK said in a statement.

Sales in China slumped 61 percent, it added.

GSK had previously said that its financial performance in China would take a hit from Beijing's probe into bribery allegedly carried out by senior staff, resulting in little change to its share price in Wednesday trading.

The company had in July admitted that senior employees at its China unit appeared to have breached local law -- after Chinese authorities alleged that employees had bribed government officials, pharmaceutical industry groups, hospitals and doctors to promote sales.

"At this stage, it is still too early for us to quantify the longer-term impact of the investigation on our performance in China," GSK chief executive Andrew Witty said in the earnings statement.