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Published on : Mar 04, 2015

The global pharmaceutical industry currently faces high risks of bribery on international turfs as companies pursue better business. A top regulating official said on Tuesday that a strong compliance program and increase in self-disclosure can ease the risk and level of damage should such a violation occur.

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Andrew Ceresney, director of the organization’s enforcement division, spoke in Washington D.C. during an industry compliance conference. He said that his department has focused on the pharma companies for the past few years. One of the reasons for this greater focus was the company representatives having regular contact in foreign countries with doctors and public hospital officials. These members are usually classified as foreign officials under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Ceresney said that the officials more often than not, get to decide that products their related public hospitals will purchase. The fact that pharma officials can influence the awarding of medical contracts holds true for practically every nation in the world.

He went on describe the most commonly used bribery schemes the SEC has noticed in FCPA cases for the pharmaceutical industry and also cited the most recent cases for each instance.

 The list of schemes used involved bribes for drug approvals, payments for prescriptions, and bribes disguised as charitable contributions. Ceresney said disguised bribes were the most commonly occurring of schemes in the list.

He also said that the best way for companies to avoid creating violations for the FCPA is to have a robust compliance program. He also said that the message has actually resonated within the pharma industry for the past five years.