- Sanofi is conducting an investigation into allegations of bribery in the Middle East and East Africa. The company was notified about the alleged wrongdoing by a whistleblower.
- Specific allegations include paying medical professionals in these regions to attend conferences and proffering gifts and cash to increase prescriptions in these markets.
- The alleged wrongdoing is thought to have occurred between 2007 and 2012. Sanofi has taken the important step of contacting the U.S. Department of Justice proactively.
Allegations of bribery in any market, including global markets, have serious repercussions for any pharma company. In September, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) was fined a record $489 million by Chinese authorities for bribing physicians, and in December 2012, Eli Lilly paid $29.4 million to settle SEC claims of various forms of bribery in exchange for prescriptions in China, Brazil, Russia, and Poland. Surprisingly, these allegations date back to 1994.
Historical wrongdoing is not beyond the reach of the law—and Sanofi knows that. Therefore, the decision to proactively notify the Department of Justice in the U.S. is an important first step. Sanofi has also hired external counsel to investigate the charges.