Drugmaker Teva subpoenaed by SEC over antibribery compliance

Mon Aug 6, 2012 11:07am IST

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Aug 6 (Reuters) - Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries , the world's biggest generic-drug maker, is being investigated by the U.S. securities regulator over the company's compliance with a U.S. law that prohibits bribery of foreign officials.

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last week, Teva said it had received a subpoena dated July 9 to produce documents in connection with its business practices in Latin America.

Teva said in the filing that it was cooperating with the U.S. government. The company added that it was conducting a voluntary investigation into certain business practices and has engaged independent counsel to assist in its investigation.

"These matters are in their early stages and no conclusion can be drawn at this time as to any likely outcomes," Teva said in the filing.

The SEC's move is part of a wider probe into the drug industry for possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, as major drugmakers look to expand in emerging markets.

A Reuters examination of U.S. SEC filings by the world's top 10 drug companies has found that at least eight of them had warned of potential costs related to charges of corruption in overseas markets.

Early this year, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co said it had received a subpoena from SEC regarding its sales and marketing practices in various foreign countries.

Last year, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $70 million to settle U.S. charges that it paid bribes and kickbacks to win business in Greece, Iraq, Poland and Romania, in the first such settlement by a big drug company.

The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations said early this year it had expanded and strengthened the code to ensure "the highest ethical and professional standards".

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