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Is Pfizer at it again? Fined $60m for decade of fraud and corruption in Russia

Pfizer is the world's largest drug manufacturer, reporting revenue of USD $67.425 billion in 2011. They are not above playing dirty, however, to achieve their number one position in the industry. They have a long list of convictions in numerous countries for fraud.

Just yesterday, the Moscow Times reported that Pfizer has been fined USD $60 million in the United States after admitting to systemic corruption spanning from the mid-1990s until 2006 in Russia and other countries across Europe and Asia including Bulgaria, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Kazakhstan and Serbia.

According to an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, it was common practice within Pfizer to bribe government officials and doctors, making payments to offshore accounts and by hand in envelopes filled with cash as well as paying for holidays. Although it sounds like a Bond movie, sadly this behaviour was real and the corruption went all the way to the top, involving the Head of Russian operations, British-born Robert Marshall and the finance director who were implicated in the authorization of corrupt financial transfers.

"The payments of cash and other benefits were intended to obtain regulatory approvals relating to Pfizer products, to avoid delays and penalties associated with the importation of certain Pfizer products, and to influence the doctors to prescribe Pfizer products," the SEC said in a statement released in the United States on Tuesday.

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