Pfizer H.P.C. Corp., a subsidiary of Pfizer, Inc., has agreed to pay a $15 million penalty to resolve charges that the company violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by making improper payments to government officials, including public regulators and health care professionals, in Bulgaria, Croatia, Kazakhstan and Russia. U.S. Department of Justice, Pfizer H.C.P. Corp. Agrees to Pay $15 Million Penalty to Resolve Foreign Bribery Investigation (Aug. 7, 2012).
Pfizer H.P.C.’s parent company voluntarily disclosed to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) its subsidiary’s allegedly unlawful activities, which the DOJ described in a press release as including–
… a broad range of improper payments to numerous government officials in Bulgaria, Croatia, Kazakhstan and Russia – including hospital administrators, members of regulatory and purchasing committees and other health care professionals – and sought to improperly influence government decisions in these countries regarding the approval and registration of Pfizer Inc. products, the award of pharmaceutical tenders and the level of sales of Pfizer Inc. products.
According to documents filed with the government’s two-count criminal information, “Pfizer H.C.P. used numerous mechanisms to improperly influence government officials, including sham consulting contracts, an exclusive distributorship and improper travel and cash payments.”