SEC, Justice probe Merck’s activities abroad

By Dow Jones Newswires
Posted Aug. 6, 2010 at 5:41 p.m.

U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co.  said Friday  that it has received letters from the federal government seeking information about its activities in foreign countries, in connection with a U.S. anti-foreign bribery law.

Merck disclosed in a regulatory filing it has received letters from the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission. The company said it is cooperating with the requests.
The Whitehouse Station, N.J., company said it believes the inquiries are part of a broader review of pharmaceutical industry practices abroad.

The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prohibits U.S. companies from paying foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business.

Merck spokesman Ron Rogers said the company hasn’t been charged with a violation of the act, and Merck has a policy to act in accordance with FCPA and other laws.

The Justice Department has said it has been looking into whether pharmaceutical companies are complying with the law. Eli Lilly & Co. disclosed this year Justice and SEC had expanded an investigation into whether Lilly has complied with FCPA.

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