Johnson & Johnson may have been eliminated from the Worst Company In America tournament, but the company’s craptastic year continues, as J&J has settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission and Dept. of Justice over allegations that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by illegally bribing doctors in Europe and paying kickbacks to Iraq… At least it wasn’t another product recall.
From the SEC statement on the matter:
The SEC alleges that since at least 1998, subsidiaries of the New Brunswick, N.J.-based pharmaceutical, consumer product, and medical device company paid bribes to public doctors in Greece who selected J&J surgical implants, public doctors and hospital administrators in Poland who awarded contracts to J&J, and public doctors in Romania to prescribe J&J pharmaceutical products. J&J subsidiaries also paid kickbacks to Iraq to obtain 19 contracts under the United Nations Oil for Food Program.
As part of the settlement, J&J will pay more than $48.6 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest, along with another $21.4 million fine to settle parallel criminal charges announced by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Says Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, “J&J chose profit margins over compliance with the law by acquiring a private company for the purpose of paying bribes, and using sham contracts, off-shore companies, and slush funds to cover its tracks.”