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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pfizer Settlement on Foreign Bribery Charges

By Christopher Matthews
The Wall Street Journal Blogs

So that’s how it got started.

The government’s sprawling foreign bribery sweep into the pharmaceutical industry was built, in a large part, on information Pfizer Inc. and Johnson & Johnson provided about their competitors, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal Monday.

Not surprisingly, ratting on your competitors has its rewards.

Pfizer will pay more than $60 million to settle alleged violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, according to people familiar with the matter. The sum could have been higher had Pfizer not cooperated with the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $70 million in April to settle its FCPA probe, and likewise benefited from dropping a dime on its competitors.

The two companies’ cooperation contributed to a government investigation that has affected several major drug companies, also including Merck & Co., AstraZeneca PLC, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and GlaxoSmithKline PLC, according to the people familiar with the investigations. The four companies last year said in regulatory filings that they received letters of inquiry from the Justice Department and the SEC. The companies have said they are cooperating with investigators.

The entire story is here.