Sanofi has agreed on a civil settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to resolve charges related to allegations of its subsidiaries paying bribes to win contracts.
The French pharmaceutical giant will pay a total of $25.2m to completely resolve the SEC’s investigation against its Kazakhstan and Middle East subsidiaries.
According to the allegations, the Sanofi bribery charges involved payments to government procurement officials and healthcare providers between 2006 and 2015.
The SEC claimed that the bribes were intended to gain tenders and increase prescriptions of the company’s products.
It is reported that funds for these bribes were generated by using Kazakhstan distributors as part of a kickback scheme. The SEC tracked these kickbacks in internal spreadsheets.
In the Middle East countries, Sanofi is alleged to have carried out pay-to-prescribe schemes to influence healthcare providers towards increasing their prescriptions of its products.
While the SEC claimed that Sanofi violated certain provisions of the federal security laws, the company did not admit or deny its involvement in these activities and agreed to a cease-and-desist order.
Sanofi CEO Olivier Brandicourt said: “We have worked diligently to strengthen our compliance programme worldwide and we are pleased the Department of Justice and SEC recognised these efforts and our close cooperation.
“We will continue to strengthen internal controls, anti-bribery and corruption compliance programmes, and our oversight and training of teams worldwide. Conducting our activities in an ethical way is something that our company takes very seriously.”
Of the total settlement amount, Sanofi agreed to pay $17.5m in disgorgement, $2.7m in prejudgment interest and a $5m civil penalty.
The company will also self-report on its improved internal controls and anti-bribery and corruption compliance programme over a period of two years.