Drugmakers Probed on Global Bribery Allegations, WSJ Reports

U.S. federal investigators are probing major drug companies over allegations of bribes paid in countries such as Brazil and Saudi Arabia in order to boost sales and accelerate product approval, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Officials from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department are investigating companies such as Merck & Co., AstraZeneca Plc, Bristol-Myers Squibb & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline Plc for possible violations of the 1977 law preventing companies with stock traded in the U.S. from bribing foreign officials, the newspaper said.

SciClone Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Eli Lilly & Co both said they’d been subpoenaed, and Baxter International Inc. said it’s also being probed; the investigations cover sales and operations in Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia and Saudi Arabia, the WSJ added.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Peterson at cpeterson@bloomberg.net

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