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Government FCPA investigation into Pfizer expands to Mexico

American pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer disclosed this month that the DOJ and SEC’s investigation into possible FCPA violations has expanded to Mexico, the third county named so far.

Here’s an excerpt (courtesy of FCPA Tracker) from the company’s May 10, 2023, SEC filing:

U.S. Department of Justice Inquiry relating to Mexico Operations

In March 2023, we received an informal request from the U.S. Department of Justice’s FCPA Unit seeking documents relating to our operations in Mexico. We are producing records pursuant to this request.

In a November 2019 filing first reported by FCPA Tracker, Pfizer initially disclosed that the DOJ and SEC were investigating the company for activity that may have violated the FCPA in Russia.

In August 2020, the company said in a filing that the government investigation had expanded to the company’s operations in China.

The current FCPA investigation follows a 2012 enforcement action, when Pfizer and a subsidiary paid the DOJ and SEC $60 million to settle FCPA violations in multiple countries.

Pfizer’s employees and agents paid bribes in Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Italy, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Serbia, the SEC said in 2012.

Improper payments went to foreign officials “to obtain regulatory and formulary approvals, sales, and increased prescriptions for the company’s pharmaceutical products,” according to the SEC.

The DOJ’s Mythili Raman said, “Pfizer took shortcuts to boost its business in several Eurasian countries, bribing government officials in Bulgaria, Croatia, Kazakhstan and Russia to the tune of millions of dollars.”

As part of the 2012 resolution, the DOJ cited Pfizer’s “extensive remediation and improvement of its compliance systems and internal controls” and didn’t require the company to retain a corporate monitor.

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