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Sanofi to pay $25m over Kazakhstan and Middle East corruption allegations

Published on 05/09/18 at 09:39am

French pharma giant Sanofi will pay more than $25 million to settle corruption charges related to their subsidiaries in Kazakhstan and the Middle East.

The French multinational are alleged to have made corrupt payments to win business in Eurasia and the Middle East. Thus without admitting or denying the allegations, Sanofi have agreed to pay $17.5 million in disgorgement, $2.7 million in prejudgment interest and a civil penalty of $5 million, according to the US Security and Exchange Commission.

The SEC accused Sanofi of using distributors in Kazakhstan to enact a scheme in “which bribes were paid to officials to ensure that Sanofi was awarded tenders at public institutions.” The US regulator also alleged that the company used ‘pay to prescribe’ schemes in order to entice doctors in the Middle East to prescribe their products.

Sanofi CEO Olivier Brandicourt commented: “we will continue to strengthen internal controls, anti-bribery and corruption compliance programmes, and our oversight and training of teams worldwide.”

However the scandal is reminiscent of the ongoing court case in which pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Roche, Pfizer and General Electric were accused of funding terror in Iraq through corrupt payments to the Iraqi Health Ministry.

Charles Cain, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Unit Chief in the SEC's Enforcement Division commented that: “Bribery in connection with pharmaceutical sales remains as a significant problem despite numerous prior enforcement actions involving the industry and life sciences more generally. 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.”

Louis Goss

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