Week in Review, February 17, 2014

A look back at 2013 FCPA enforcement reveals trends for the future, Brazil enacts an anti-bribery law of its own, at least one attorney wonders if Sunshine will hamper qui tam cases, and the FDA wants medical device adverse event reports submitted electronically.

Well, it’s President’s Day – certainly, one of the more interesting American holidays in terms of its evolution. From what we’re told by the folks at the history channel, the holiday was originally created to celebrate George Washington’s birthday. The shift to “President’s Day” is somewhat convoluted but suffice to say, it was part of the Uniform Monday Holiday, which was passed in 1971 and was intended to create more three day weekends for the nation’s workers, while fighting employee absenteeism by ensuring that holidays fell on the same weekday. Whew! Now that we are all clear on that, let’s focus on something a lot easier to understand, the compliance news of the week, in the News in Review.

Speaking of history, we begin this week with a look back at the DOJ’s enforcement of the FCPA for clues to future trends. Not surprisingly, the scope of FCPA enforcement widened in 2013, and the average cost of resolving increased to $80 million last year. New industries felt the brunt of the Act, with apparel manufacturer, Ralph Lauren, and ATM manufacturer, Diebold, entering into settlements with the government to settle charges. The agencies also expanded their investigatory search beyond written documents to business communication in general, with one representative of a mining company being charged with witness tampering based on a secretly recorded conversation.

A new bribery law  had its inauguration at the end of January. Brazil’s Clean Companies Act went into effect on January 29th. The law allows for the prosecution of  acts of bribery committed by Brazilian companies or foreign companies with a registered affiliate in Brazil. Unlike the FCPA and UK Bribery Act, the Clean Companies Act only carries civil penalties.

Holiday or not, Teva may not be a celebratory mood. The company announced it was under investigation by the government for the marketing practices related to two of its drugs. The government requested documents dating back to 2006 as it conducts the investigation.

From the land adjacent to the “land of Lincoln” comes an announcement of a program designed to educate medical students about the inner workings of the pharmaceutical industry. Eli Lilly is rolling out a four week rotational program where students will experience the various aspects of the drug development process and how physicians contribute to that process. The program will be conducted at Tulane University’s School of Medicine.

On the legal front, during a National Disclosure Summit, a qui tam attorney said Sunshine data could hamper qui tam cases more than it could help. The attorney said relators will have a harder time getting past the False Claims Act “public disclosure bar,” which requires relators to file their claims before information is in the public domain. On the other hand, the Sunshine data will add instant credibility to  a whistleblower’s claims, according to the same attorney. The data can also support an “inference of off-label marketing.”

The FDA announced that beginning in August of 2015, adverse event reports related to medical devices will need to be submitted electronically. The move, which is part of an initiative to improve operations, is expected to save the FDA $1.9 million each year. Companies will save too, but only after an estimated $38 – $42 million dollar investment to upgrade their own systems and procedures.

And so ends this week’s News in Review. With the end of another February in site, now is the time to launch updated product promotion training for 2014. The customizable PharmaCertify™ eLearning module, Good Promotional Practices offers the training your field staff needs on critical topics like gifts, meals and entertainment; advisory boards; and speaker programs.

Have a great week everyone!


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