A Pfizer Inc. subsidiary admitted to bribing officials in Bulgaria, Croatia, Kazakhstan, and Russia in an effort to persuade those countries to approve the drug giant’s products, the U.S. Department of Justice said Tuesday.Pfizer H.C.P. Corp. will pay a $15 million fine to end a DOJ criminal investigation into alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Pfizer and its subsidiary Wyeth will pay the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission roughly $45 million to settle similar claims.
“Pfizer took short cuts to boost its business in several Eurasian countries, bribing government officials in Bulgaria, Croatia, Kazakhstan and Russia to the tune of millions of dollars,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Raman said in a statement Tuesday.
U.S. prosecutors accuse Pfizer H.C.P. of making a broad range of illegal payments to hospital administrators and other foreign government officials, issuing bogus consulting agreements and handing out illegal cash payments.
Pfizer said Tuesday that the government never alleged Pfizer actually knew of the illicit conduct.
As soon as Pfizer’s central headquarters got word of those activities, the company said, it alerted the SEC and DOJ on its own.
“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,” Pfizer General Counsel Amy Schulman said in a statement.
A previously published version of this article stated that the amount Pfizer was paying was $105 million. The error has been corrected.
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