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Bristol-Myers Gets SEC Subpoena In Foreign Bribery Probe

04/26/2012 | 01:01pm US/Eastern
   By Peter Loftus 

Drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (>> Bristol Myers Squibb Co.) said it has received a subpoena from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as part of an investigation into bribery overseas.

Bristol-Myers said the subpoena received in March seeks information related to sales and marketing practices in "various countries."

The New York-based company said in a quarterly report filed Thursday with the SEC that it was cooperating with the government. A spokeswoman declined comment beyond the information in Thursday's SEC filing.

Bristol-Myers, which sells the anti-clotting drug Plavix, previously disclosed that the SEC was investigating the activities of the company's units in Germany, concerning potential violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA.

U.S. authorities in recent years have stepped up enforcement of the FCPA, which bars U.S. companies from bribing foreign officials to obtain or retain business. Multinational drug and medical-device makers based in the U.S. have been among the targets of enforcement.

Last year, Johnson & Johnson (>> Johnson & Johnson) agreed to pay nearly $80 million to resolve allegations that it paid bribes to doctors in three European countries, as well as kickbacks to Iraq to illegally obtain business under former leader Saddam Hussein.

Other drug makers--including Pfizer Inc. (>> Pfizer Inc.), Merck & Co. (>> Merck & Co., Inc.) and Eli Lilly & Co. (>> Eli Lilly & Co.)--also have been the subjects of federal inquiries regarding the FCPA.

-By Peter Loftus, Dow Jones Newswires; +1-215-982-5581; peter.loftus@dowjones.com

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