Pfizer Agrees to Settle Foreign Bribery Case With U.S.
By Tom Schoenberg and Drew Armstrong – Aug 7, 2012 11:19 AM ET.
Pfizer Inc., the world’s largest drugmaker, agreed to pay $60.2 million to settle foreign bribery cases brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission andJustice Department over alleged bribes paid by employees and agents of company subsidiaries.
Pfizer and a unit, Wyeth LLC, entered into separate agreements with the SEC while Pfizer HCP Corp. reached a deferred prosecution accord with prosecutors, according to filings today in federal court in Washington.
The settlements stem from payments and gifts Pfizer’s foreign business units made to doctors in Eastern Europe and theMiddle East, the U.S. said. Pfizer probed the claims and alerted U.S. authorities in 2004. More payments were found when the New York-based drugmaker bought Wyeth in 2009.
The settlements stem from payments and gifts Pfizer Inc.’s foreign business units made to doctors in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, the U.S. said. Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg
“These improper payments were variously made to influence regulatory and formulary approvals, purchase decisions, prescription decisions, and to clear customs,” according to a complaint filed by the SEC.
The SEC said the payments were made “without the knowledge or approval of officers or employees of Pfizer, but the inaccurate books and records of Pfizer subsidiaries were consolidated in the financial reports of Pfizer.”
U.S. law enforcement authorities have been investigating drugmakers including Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd,AstraZeneca Plc (AZN), Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) for possibly breaking the overseas anti-bribery law, which bars corporate employees or their agents from paying bribes to foreign government officials to obtain or retain business. That can include everything from government bribes to smaller, improper gifts to physicians.
“The actions which led to this resolution were disappointing, but the openness and speed with which Pfizer voluntarily disclosed and addressed them reflects our true culture and the real value we place on integrity and meeting commitments,” Amy Schulman, Pfizer’s general counsel, said in an e-mailed statement. “We expect every colleague across Pfizer to adhere to the highest standards of conduct.”
The cases are U.S. Securities of Exchange Commission v.Pfizer Inc. (PFE), 12-cv-01303; U.S. Securities of Exchange Commission v. Wyeth LLC, 12-cv-1304; and U.S. v. Pfizer HCP Corp., 12-cr-00169, U.S. District Court.
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