The FCPA in 2011: Five Answers and a Looming Question

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP

The Department of Justice has been warning the Life Sciences industries - pharmaceutical and medical device companies - of its intent to focus "on the application of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act" ("FCPA") on the pharmaceutical and related industries. (Lanny Breuer, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Criminal Division, November 12, 2009). The FCPA prohibits, among other things, the actual or attempted bribery of foreign government officials in order to assist in obtaining or retaining business. Potentially violative payments include cash, gifts, charitable donations, travel, meals, entertainment, grants, speaking fees, honoraria, and consultant arrangements. The FCPA does not contain a materiality threshold as to the size of the payment to the government official or the amount of business obtained. While there are some safe harbors for payments to foreign officials, these exceptions are narrowly construed and apply only rarely. There are many situations where these issues can arise for Life Sciences companies in foreign countries.

Because of this focus, Life Sciences companies need to be aware of how the DOJ is enforcing the FCPA. The following blog article, from our Global Trade Law blog, should be reviewed with this in mind.

Please see full article below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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