Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Merck, Others Probed Under FCPA | Another "Hassan Hangover": In Vietnam, This Time?

We've been following this FCPA angle since early spring of 2010 -- particularly in Vietnam, as local press reports implicated legacy Schering-Plough's Vietnamese PegIntron® sales practices. [B|Net's Jim Edwards had a well-sourced piece of a much earlier vintage, as well -- which Merck tried to spike (unsuccessfully, it turned out).]

Overnight, Michael Rothfeld for The Wall Street Journal has done a nice job of recapping the state of what's publicly-known about the tandem DoJ/SEC's nearly industry-wide foreign corrupt practices investigation. Do go read it all, but here is a bit:

. . . .The investigation is targeting transactions in Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia and Saudi Arabia, people familiar with the matter said. . . . [and/or Vietnam, anyone?]

Such requests from the government typically kick off internal investigations at companies, which generally comply with the requests in order to win leniency from the government if a violation is found. . . .

Letters from the government to one of the companies, which were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, identified four types of possible violations: bribing government-employed doctors to purchase drugs; paying company sales agents commissions that are passed along to government doctors; paying hospital committees to approve drug purchases; and paying regulators to win drug approvals. . . .

The bolded bits -- imediately above -- are what several sources in the Vietnamese press have been told about, by both pharmacists and doctors in that country, related to Schering-Plough/Now Merck's PegIntron -- over the past three years at least. We'll keep you posted.

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