AstraZeneca PLC said Monday in a securities filing that it was criminally indicted in Serbia for alleged bribery.
The indictment, which according to the filing was served in August, accuses local AstraZeneca employees of having “made allegedly improper payments to physicians” at the Institute of Oncology and Radiology of Serbia. Several of the accused were arrested, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In the filing, the company said it has filed a number of procedural motions to dismiss the charges. But the pharmaceutical industry is already staring at an industry-wide probe in the U.S. into alleged foreign bribery. The Wall Street Journal stated “AstraZeneca was one of a number of companies that disclosed it was being investigated for possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” which obstructs companies and individuals from bribing foreign officials to get or keep business.
Johnson & Johnson settled in April, agreeing to pay $70 million to U.S. authorities. In its latest annual report, AstraZeneca said it’s cooperating with U.S. authorities on the probe, and it couldn’t predict the scope, duration or outcome of the investigation.
“AstraZeneca Indicted In Serbia For Alleged Bribery.” Wall street Journal. (2011) <http://blogs.wsj.com/corruption-currents/2011/11/07/astrazeneca-indicted-in-serbia-for-alleged-bribery/>.