US foreign bribery penalties may lack bite
Federal authorities have cast a wide net to weed out suspected gift-giving and kickbacks to foreign doctors and government officials to gain a foothold in burgeoning new markets in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.
At least eight of the world's top 10 drugmakers, including Bristol-Myers Squibb Co, Pfizer Inc and Johnson &, have disclosed U.S. probes under the 1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
Pfizer agreed to pay $60 million this year to settle FCPA charges and J&J reached a $70 million settlement last year.
Pfizer is on track to record $10 billion in sales from emerging markets this year, while J&J said Brazil, Russia, India and China accounted for just under 10 percent of the $65 billion in sales it reported last year.
With so much at stake outside of established markets in the United States and Europe, s ome experts say fines like these are hardly a deterrent.
The $60 million fine for Pfizer to a lay person sounds like quite a bit of money, but in perspective it took less than two days of Lipitor sales during its peak. It's really just chump change for them, said Michael Leibfried, a senior analyst with market research consulting firm GlobalData. The cholesterol pill at its height was a $13 billion a year cash cow for
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