News Week in Review, April 13, 2015

Spain and Malaysia amend their anticorruption laws, researchers from the NIH say the government rules on paperwork and travel are too complex, and India considers dedicated oversight for medical device.

Golf voices and claps only, please. It’s time to celebrate the greenest spectacle in sports – the Masters. The lush fairways, that somewhat disturbing green jacket and we can’t forget the green ($10M total) won by the top players. This year’s event saw the return of Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus making a career first hole-in-one at the Par 3 tournament, and the record breaking victory by Jason Spieth. Now that the drama is over and the young man from Texas held off the field, it’s time to tee off on this week’s Compliance News in Review.

A pair of countries legislating compliance programs are the first on the tee this week. At the end of March, the Spanish Congress approved amendments to its Criminal Code, which requires companies to adopt a compliance program. The change is effective as of July 1, 2015. According to the law, compliance programs must be supervised by a group or individual that can exercise a high level of control. The law provides a company protection from criminal prosecution when the company’s compliance program when the individuals responsible for the compliance program did not neglect their duties. It also details six element’s that must be included in order for the company to be protected from prosecution.

Malaysia’s Attorney General wants to amend country’s current anticorruption law to address corporate liability. A deputy with the Malaysian Anticorruption Commission (MACC) said the U.K. Bribery Act and FCPA were being used as guidelines for the Malaysian law.

Medical researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) would like a mulligan, of sorts, on the paperwork required for travel to attend medical conferences. Researchers say the government’s paperwork and travel approval process is time consuming and is hurting science and it can take up to six months to learn whether they’ve been approved to travel to conferences and meetings. The strict rules were put in place following a scandal involving travel at the General Services Administration. One researcher said he had to turn down a speaking request at a popular conference because the agency has to limit how many individuals it sends to any one event, and he is often passed over as a speaker because conference organizers don’t believe he’ll be able to attend. The NIH spent over $14 million in oversight of travel and expenses in 2014, which was nearly a quarter of its total travel budget for the year.

India is bringing medical device oversight on par with how drugs are regulated. A government task force is recommending a separate regulator be put in place to oversee safety and price controls of diagnostic equipment, implants and hospital equipment. Currently, devices are regulated under the same act as drugs, but both industry and public health advocates have argued that devices are different and should be regulated under different rules.

With that, we put a bow on another year of the “tradition unlike any other,” and another edition of the Compliance News in Reviews. Have a great week everyone, and as you hit the greens this year, remember the words of the late, great Paul Harvey, “golf is a game in which you yell ‘fore,’ shoot six, and write down five.”

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