Drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co. recently agreed to pay $29.9 million to settle a foreign bribery case with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC alleged that the drugmaker allowed its subsidiaries to bribe officials of foreign countries to award the company millions of dollars in business. Bloomberg News reports that the bribery settlement involves Eli Lilly subsidiaries in China, Russia, Poland and Brazil.
"Eli Lilly and its subsidiaries possessed a 'check the box' mentality when it came to third-party due diligence," Kara Novaco Brockmeyer, head of the SEC's foreign bribery unit, said in a statement. "Companies can't simply rely on paper-thin assurances by employees, distributors or customers. They need to look at the surrounding circumstances of any payment to adequately assess whether it could wind up in a government official's pocket."
In addition to bribery allegations, the drugmaker has faced pharmaceutical product liability litigation arising from side effects of its antidepressant drug Cymbalta. One of the most recent Cymbalta cases involves a teen who committed suicide after being given the drug by his physician. The teen's parents allege that the drugmaker failed to warn them that teens given the antidepressant were more likely to become suicidal.
"Children, teenagers and young adults who take antidepressants to treat depression or other mental illnesses may be more likely to become suicidal than children, teenagers and young adults who do not take antidepressants to treat these conditions," the drug's black box warning states.
In addition to suicidal thoughts, other side effects associated with Cymbalta include confusion, muscle pain, loss of appetite, stomach swelling, breathing problems and blurred vision.
Source: Bloomberg, "Lilly to Pay $29.4 Million to End SEC Foreign Bribe Case," Tom Schoenberg, Dec. 20, 2012