9 Aug 2012

Pfizer charges settled

5:06 am on 9 August 2012

Pfizer has paid the US government $US60 million to settle charges alleging it paid bribes to build its business in Europe and China.

Court papers say employees made the payoffs to secure sales contracts for Pfizer products.

The countries involved are Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Italy, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Serbia.

The Securities & Exchange Commission says healthcare officials "improperly rewarded".

The giant US drugs company does not admit any guilt.

However, the SEC said Pfizer officials had not been aware of the payments, and that its co-operation over the charges meant there was no need for criminal prosecution.

Pfizer disclosed the misconduct to SEC and Justice Department officials in October 2004, and cooperated with the investigation.

The charges against Pfizer were brought under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The BBC reports the Justice Department has investigated a number of pharmaceutical and medical device companies that operate overseas in connection with the law in the past five years.