Week in Review, July 13, 2012

The PharmaCertify™ Team

Whew! The past few weeks certainly have been hot. Kinda makes you want a jump in a pool or run through a sprinkler doesn’t it? Or better yet, hit the beach! The cool ocean water, the sea breeze evaporating the sweat from your forehead, a cooler of ice cold…um…water (hey, this is a family blog) by your side. Devine, isn’t it? If you’re lucky enough to pack up the minivan and head to the coast this weekend, we salute you! Grab those beach chairs, beach towels and your sunscreen and get your cool on! For those of us not so lucky, we’ll have to sit in our air conditioned living rooms and pretend. But before any of us can escape to the real or metaphorical beach, we have Friday to tame. As you gather you’re reading material for the weekend, take a read of the week that was…the News Week in Review.

The change in the Massachusetts gift ban is not all sunshine and sand castles with med students in the state. In June, over 100 med students, residents, and physicians sent a petition to Massachusetts governor, Deval Patrick, asking him to keep the gift ban in place. Accompanying the petition was a letter from Harvard and Brown medical students expressing concern that the trust between doctor and patient is eroding because of the perception the profession was  “on the take” from the life sciences industry. On July 3, the governor responded, saying the change in the law was a small one and would afford companies a better opportunity to educate medical professionals about new medications and devices. He also said loosening the state’s regulations would better align with the PhRMA Code. The med students say the PhRMA Code should be a starting point, not the standard.

Might the wave of the first corporate charges under the UK Bribery Act be beginning to swell? Perhaps, and the lucky winner is…BP. The Serious Fraud Office has brought BP into a bribery investigation concerning one of the company’s contractors in Azerbaijan. No BP employees are suspected of having paid bribes, but under the Bribery Act, the company could be held liable for the actions of its contractor. So don’t forget those vendors and third parties when you’re planning your anti-bribery training.

Orthofix will be heading to the shore with $7.4 million less to spend on the boardwalk. The company and the DOJ reached a settlement to resolve bribery charges involving a former distributor in Mexico. After an internal investigation, the company notified the DOJ that a distributor may have paid bribes to Mexican health officials. Orthofix has entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the DOJ and Consent to Final Judgment with the SEC. The $7.4 million payout represents $5.2 million in profit disgorgement and $2.2 million in fines.

Continuing to surf that anti-corruption wave, we have a blog from Tom Fox about the GSK settlement. Wait, wait you say…that wasn’t an FCPA or Bribery Act settlement. No it wasn’t but, Mr. Fox highlights a couple of provisions in the GSK CIA that should be of interest to “FCPA compliance practitioners.” The first provision was GSK’s agreement to change the way it compensates its sales force by removing sales goals from certain territories. The other item of note was the agreement that any executives who engage in illegal activities would be required to return their bonuses and long term incentives.

For our friends in Texas, we realize the beach could be quite a haul. So for future reference, you might want to consider taking a dip in the water park this dentist is building at his home. Oh, and according to the state’s AG, he may be building it with your money, since the dentist in question is at the center of two large Medicaid fraud suits.

Well, I hope we’ve helped you decide which piece of summer reading you’ll be taking along on that visit to your own personal “beach.” Keep cool this weekend everyone…don’t forget the sunscreen!

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