Background

The Securities and Exchange Commission states that a company based in France has agreed to pay more than $25 million to resolve charges that it violated the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the federal securities laws. This amount includes $17.5 million in disgorgement, $2.7 million in prejudgment interest, and a $5 million civil penalty.

The SEC alleged that the company’s subsidiaries in Kazakhstan made bribe payments to government procurement officials to ensure that the company was awarded tenders at public institutions. The SEC also charged company subsidiaries in the Middle East with bribing healthcare providers to induce them to increase their prescriptions of the company’s products.

“Bribery in connection with pharmaceutical sales remains as a significant problem despite numerous prior enforcement actions involving the industry and life sciences more generally,” said Charles Cain, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act unit chief in the SEC’s Enforcement Division. “While bribery risk can impact any industry, this matter illustrates that more work needs to be done to address the particular risks posed in the pharmaceutical industry.”

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