By C.M. Matthews and Joe Palazzolo
The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, the world’s largest manufacturer of generic drugs, for possible violations of a U.S. anti-bribery law.
The Israel-based company said in a regulatory filing that it received a subpoena from the SEC last month seeking documents related to Teva’s operations in Latin America, which accounted for about $221 million in second-quarter revenue.
Teva, Israel’s largest company by revenue, is the latest to come under scrutiny in a three-year-old U.S. government investigation of the pharmaceutical industry’s compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a 1977 law that bars companies from paying bribes to foreign officials to obtain business.
According to the Justice Department and the SEC, which jointly enforce the law, doctors and other employees of government-run overseas hospitals qualify as foreign officials. As a result, the agencies consider some industry practices, such as paying a doctor to encourage the physician to buy a medicine, in violation of the act if the doctor works for a foreign state-owned institution.