The FCPA makes it illegal for U.S. companies to pay foreign officials for the purpose of obtaining or keeping business. The pharmaceutical industry has been particularly impacted by this law because the term “foreign officials” has been noted to include employees of state-owned hospitals abroad. Pharmaceutical companies who pay the travel expenses or meal tabs for foreign doctors in socialized medical systems are therefore in potential violation of FCPA anti-bribery provisions. On June 14, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on FCPA at which Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R- Wis.) announced he would draft legislation to amend the Act to, among other actions, narrow the definition of “foreign officials.” Draft legislation was not available at the time of this writing.
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