Securities Law Prof Blog

Editor: Eric C. Chaffee
Univ. of Toledo College of Law

Monday, March 26, 2012

SEC & Medical Device Company Settle FCPA Charges

The SEC and Biomet Inc. settled charges that the medical device company violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) when its subsidiaries and agents bribed public doctors in Argentina, Brazil, and China for nearly a decade to win business.  Biomet, which primarily sells products used by orthopedic surgeons, agreed to pay more than $22 million to settle the SEC’s charges as well as parallel criminal charges announced by the U.S. Department of Justice today. The charges arise from the SEC and DOJ’s ongoing global investigation into medical device companies bribing publicly-employed physicians.

The SEC alleges that Biomet and its four subsidiaries paid bribes from 2000 to August 2008, and employees and managers at all levels of the parent company and the subsidiaries were involved along with the distributors who sold Biomet’s products. Biomet’s compliance and internal audit functions failed to stop the payments to doctors even after learning about the illegal practices.

Biomet consented to the entry of a court order requiring payment of $4,432,998 in disgorgement and $1,142,733 in prejudgment interest. Biomet also is ordered to retain an independent compliance consultant for 18 months to review its FCPA compliance program.  Biomet agreed to pay a $17.28 million fine to settle the criminal charges.

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