Merck is being investigated by two US federal agencies following alleged violations of anti-bribery laws in a number of countries.

The Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have requested information regarding activities with reference to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a law barring US companies from bribing government officials in other countries.

Merck are among a number of pharmaceutical companies developing interests in emerging markets overseas, including Asia and South America, with government health programmes in these regions controlling prescription drug prices.

The US-based pharmaceutical company, the world’s second largest drug manufacturer, said it is co-operating with the investigation and believes it to be part of a broader review, according to