Pfizer Settles Its Way Out Of Bribing Charges

In an earlier post we talked about the U.S. having a year of record-high settlements, and on August 7, the New York Times reported a story about a very fitting continuation, when Pfizer settled its U.S. charges for bribing doctors abroad.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it had reached a settlement of $45 million with Pfizer. Pfizer wished to resolve charges that subsidiaries of Pfizer and Wyeth, which Pfizer has owned since 2009, had bribed doctors and other health care professionals to boost the sales of their drugs. Another Pfizer subsidiary, Pfizer H.C.P. Corporation, has also agreed to pay a $15 million penalty in order to settle similar charges, the Justice Department announces.

The allegations, dating back to as far as 2001, involve violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which forbids bribing government officials, and in many countries, doctors are employed by the government. “Pfizer subsidiaries in several countries had bribery so entwined in their sales culture that they offered points and bonus programs to improperly reward foreign officials who proved to be their best customers,” said Kara Brockmeyer, chief of the S.E.C. enforcement division that enforces the Foreign Corrupt Practices act.

Pfizer said that it had reported these activities to the federal government in 2004 after discovering that employees of an affiliate were making improper payments. It also conducted  a long investigation and kept federal officials informed on the matter.

The business world is full of legal intricacies, and this is just one example of a situation you might find your company in. If you or your company are facing business-related legal trouble, do not go through it alone. Get qualified help on your side, and contact our business lawyers in Naperville, Illinois today.