J&J to Pay $70 Million to Settle Bribery Charges

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) paid $70 million to settle federal, civil and criminal allegations that it carried out a multiyear bribery plot and paid doctors in several European countries. Additionally, Johnson and Johnson was accused of paying kickbacks to Iraq to secure contracts under the U.N. Oil for Food Program, Dow Jones reported Friday.

“More than four years ago, we went to the government to report improper payments and have taken full responsibility for these actions,” said William C. Weldon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in a release Friday. “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.”

The settlement was announced Friday by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice. According to an SEC release, the United Kingdom Serious Fraud Office is also conducting an investigation into the charges.

Specifically, Johnson and Johnson voluntarily disclosed that subsidiaries outside of the U.S. were believed to have made improper payments in connection with the sale of medical devices in 2007.

"I know that these actions are not representative of Johnson & Johnson employees around the world who do what is honest and right every day, in the conduct of our business and in service to patients and customers worldwide,” Weldon said. “We will continue to demonstrate that Johnson & Johnson is a company that embraces responsible corporate behavior."