The U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office said this week that a former DePuy executive pleaded guilty to making £4.5 million in corrupt payments to Greek medical professionals within the state-controlled healthcare system. He was sentenced to 12 months in prison.
Robert John Dougall, 45, was DePuy’s marketing director. The company, acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 1999, makes and sells orthodpedic devices. The SFO said from 2002 to 2005, Dougall arranged the payment of commissions to surgeons as an inducement to use DePuy’s products. The payments were made through agents and offshore accounts.
The SFO said its investigation began “following a referral by the U.S. Department of Justice in October 2007.” Dougall, it said, is the first “co-operating defendant” in a major SFO corruption investigation, which is ongoing.
Dougall was first charged by the SFO in November 2009. In September 2007, DePuy and four other orthopedic device makers — Biomet, Zimmer, Smith & Nephew and Stryker — agreed to pay $310 million to settle charges they paid kickbacks to induce U.S. doctors to buy their products. Since the U.S. settlement, the four companies, along with Medtronic Inc. and Wright Medical Group, have disclosed DOJ and SEC Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations. See our post here.
A copy of the SFO’s April 14, 2010 release can be viewed here.