Pharmaceutical company Pfizer has agreed to pay a $60 million fine to the US government in order to end an investigation into bribes it paid outside the US, illegal under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Pfizer made illegal payments to doctors, hospital administrators and regulators in the period between 2001 and 2004 to win business in several European and Asian countries, Bulgaria included.
In Bulgaria, the company’s representatives paid $28 000 for trips to Greece for doctors that prescribed the most of the company’s products. Separately, Pfizer paid $17 000 for trips to medical conferences, again to doctors that prescribed its products a lot, Bulgarian news website mediapool.bg reported.
The company has since taken steps to prevent such practices. Pfizer’s Bulgarian office was last audited last year, with no infractions found, Maroussya Delcheva of Pfizer Bulgaria told zdrave.net, a Bulgarian health care news website.
Pfizer has agreed to pay a total $45 million to settle the charges – including at its subsidiary Wyeth, which Pfizer acquired in 2009 – of misconduct in about a dozen countries. Separately, Pfizer agreed to pay $15 million in penalties after admitting that it paid $2 million in bribes to foreign government officials and reaped $7 million in profits as a result, the Washington Post reported.
(Photo: Waleed Alzuhair/flickr.com)