Pfizer has resolved U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) matters related to improper operations payments in two of its subsidiaries outside the U.S. Pfizer had voluntarily reported these to the U.S. government beginning in 2004. To resolve the issues, Pfizer H.C.P. Corp. will enter into a deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ, and pay a fine of $15 million. Under the terms of a civil settlement with the SEC, Pfizer agreed to discharge profits of $16 million and prejudgment interest of $10.3 million. The DOJ will not bring criminal action against Pfizer.
In a separate civil settlement with the SEC, Pfizer’s Wyeth subsidiary has agreed to discharge profits of $17.2 million and prejudgment interest of $1.7 million to resolve improper payment issues for operations of four subsidiaries outside the U.S.
In the deferred prosecution agreement, the DOJ noted, “The extraordinary cooperation of Pfizer H.C.P.’s parent company, Pfizer Inc.,” including “thorough and responsive reporting of potential violations,” as well as “early and extensive remedial efforts.” The SEC highlighted Pfizer’s creation of “innovative and proactive anti-corruption compliance reviews” and its commitment to “comprehensive anti-corruption training throughout the organization.”
“The actions which led to this resolution were disappointing, but the openness and speed with which Pfizer voluntarily disclosed and addressed them reflects our true culture and the real value we place on integrity and meeting commitments,” said Amy Schulman, executive vice president and general counsel for Pfizer.
The conduct disclosed to the U.S. government was the result of an investigation by Pfizer that led to the discovery of certain improper payments that had been made by employees of a recently acquired Pfizer affiliate in Croatia. The DOJ settlement with Pfizer H.C.P. Corp. covers improper conduct in Bulgaria, Croatia, Kazakhstan, and Russia. The Pfizer SEC civil settlement covers improper conduct in all of these countries as well as in Italy, China, the Czech Republic and Serbia.
“We have worked diligently to strengthen our corporate compliance program worldwide,” said Douglas Lankler, executive vice president and chief compliance and risk officer for Pfizer. “We are pleased that the DOJ and SEC today recognized these efforts and our close cooperation. We have instituted rigorous oversight and accounting mechanisms and pioneered a host of new tools designed to maintain compliance and detect problems before they spread.”