Within the announcement, Sanofi also revealed that it agreed to a two-year period of self-reporting on the effectiveness of its enhanced internal controls, as well as its anti-bribery and corruption compliance program.
Despite making the payment and the disclosure the circumstances under which the company was investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Sanofi did not admit to any wrongdoing.
The SEC revealed that its investigation was due to Sanofi’s business ventures in Kazakhstan and the Middle East; its announcement suggested that Sanofi subsidiaries had made “corrupt payments to win business”.
The alleged kickbacks were tracked through internal spreadsheets, in which payments were codenamed ‘marzipans’. The payments were made in order to increase prescriptions of Sanofi products.
Charles Cain of the SEC Enforcement Division stated that more needs to be done to combat the issue within pharma: “While bribery risk can impact any industry, this matter illustrates that more work needs to be done to address the particular risks posed in the pharmaceutical industry.”
Sanofi announced as part of its annual report that the Department of Justice had decided to not pursue the bribery case into FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) violations.
"Sanofi requires all our employees to act with integrity and to follow the highest standards of conduct. We have worked diligently to strengthen our compliance program worldwide and we are pleased the DOJ and SEC recognized these efforts and our close cooperation,” said Olivier Brandicourt, Sanofi’s CEO, at the close of the investigation.