Merck and Other Pharma Companies Probed by DOJ and SEC in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Investigation

When Pharma manufacturers are targeted by the Department of Justice, qui tam whistleblower cases under the False Claims Act are often the reason.

Now, whistleblowers may also receive rewards for reporting violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), thanks to the new whistleblower provisions of the Wall Street financial reform law. Announcements like Merck’s recent SEC filing that it is now the subject an FCPA investigation involving other Pharma companies should become common, as corruption will now be increasingly exposed in a new wave of SEC Whistleblower cases.

The recent 10-Q filing of Merck & Co., Inc. stated in part:

The Company has received letters from the DOJ and the SEC that seek information about activities in a number of countries and reference the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The Company is cooperating with the agencies in their requests and believes that this inquiry is part of a broader review of pharmaceutical industry practices in foreign countries.

As we have followed through its development, the Dodd-Frank financial reform law created the new SEC Whistleblower and CFTC Whistleblower programs, which will include FCPA cases.

The FCPA, as we have discussed previously, prohibits bribery of foreign government officials in international business transactions, and false entries in books and records of those companies within the statute. Whistleblowers who assist the SEC recover monetary sanctions in FCPA cases now have an enforceable right to a monetary award of 10-30%.

Pharma’s exposure for any bribes and kickbacks abroad are a ripe subject for FCPA enforcement.

Since the late 1980s, our lawyers have worked with the nation’s major whistleblower law, the False Claims Act. We have represented whistleblowers who reported fraud and false claims in many government procurement programs, including contractor fraud in Iraq reconstruction, other military contracts, NASA programs, Hurricane Katrina and other disaster relief, research grants and cooperative agreements, and Medicare/Medicaid fraud and other federal healthcare fraud.

Ever since the start of the new IRS Whistleblower Program, our whistleblower lawyers at Finch McCranie, LLP also have represented whistleblowers in the new program. We have represented clients with IRS Whistleblower claims in the hedge fund industry, other financial services industries, real estate, manufacturing, and many other businesses, as tax fraud, tax evasion, and other tax violations are not limited to one industry.

In the drafting of the new SEC Whistleblower provisions in 2010, we were also contacted by the Senate Banking Committee staff for ideas on how the new SEC Whistleblower program should work, and have already been contacted by whistleblowers to represent them in pursuing SEC Whistleblower claims.

For a free consultation about a potential whistleblower claim, please call us at 800-228-9159, or email us HERE.