Johnson & Johnson (
) will pay more than $70 million in fines and other expenses after
the federal government charged it with bribing doctors in Europe
and paying kickbacks to Iraq, the U.S. Securities and Exchange
The violations fall under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which
the SEC contends the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based
pharmaceutical, consumer product and medical device company had
pressed since at least 1998.
"The message in this and the SEC's other FCPA cases is plain - any
competitive advantage gained through corruption is a mirage,"
according to Robert Khuzami, director of the SEC's enforcement
division. "J&J chose profit margins over compliance with the
law by acquiring a private company for the purpose of paying
bribes, and using sham contracts, off-shore companies, and slush
funds to cover its tracks."
William Weldon, chief executive officer, accepted responsibility,
regret and vowed changes will prevent the infractions from
"More than four years ago, we went to the government to report
improper payments and have taken full responsibility for these
actions," Weldon said in a statement. "We are deeply disappointed
by the unacceptable conduct that led to these violations. We have
undertaken significant changes since then to improve our compliance
efforts, and we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure
this does not occur again."