Business Ethics and Corporate Culture




Drug Company Settles False Claims Suit for US$44 Million
Americas

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that Serono Laboratories (Serono) have agreed to pay US$44.3 million to settle charges in relation to marketing of the drug Rebif. According to the DoJ, Serono paid health care providers “for hundreds of speaker training meetings and programs, as well as payments for attending consultant, marketing and advisory board meetings” from 2002 to 2009, “to induce them to promote or prescribe Rebif”. These actions led to the fraudulent submissions of claims to Medicare and Medicaid.
DoJ’s media release (4 May 2011)
(Source: DoJ)


Westpac, IAG Best Performers in Global Social Responsibility Index
Global

Computer World reports that Westpac Banking Corp (Westpac) and Insurance Australia Group (IAG) have been recognised by the FTSE4Good environmental, social, and governance (ESG) Ratings scheme as having some of the highest ratings for corporate social responsibility practices. Reportedly, over 2300 public companies globally were assesed on environmental, social, bribery and corporate governance issues. Westpac scored the highest possible index with a score of 5, IAG scored 4.8 and BHP Billiton scored 4.4, along with Mirvac, reports Computer World.
Computer World: Westpac, IAG recognised in social responsibility index (27 April 2011)
(Source: Computer World)


Big Bank Blamed for Food Price Rise
Global

The Guardian reports that Barclays Bank’s investment arm, Barclays Capital (Barclays), has been accused of driving up food prices through global commodity trading. A World Development Movement report has estimated Barclays’ earnings from food speculation activities to be £340 million in 2010, reports the Guardian. WDM director Deborah Doane has reportedly expressed concern over the lack of transparency in commodity trading markets and has accused Barclays of “making excessive profits at the expense of millions in poor countries”. The Financial Stability Board has also expressed concern over the risk posed by the commodities boom, calling it “a bubble waiting to burst”.
The Guardian: Barclays faces protests over role in global food crisis (25 April 2011)
(Source: The Guardian)


Health Company Settles False Claims Suit for US$8 Million
Americas

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that Cardinal Health (Cardinal) has agreed to pay US$8 million to settle false claims charges in relation to making payments to induce referral orders for its prescription drugs. The whistleblower lawsuit, brought by former pharmacy owner R Daniel Saleaumua and pharmacy consultant Kevin Rinne, alleged that Cardinal paid Mr Saleaumua US$440,000 in exchange for an agreement that he purchase prescription drugs only from Cardinal.
DoJ’s media release (21 April 2011)
(Source: DoJ)


Whistleblower Lawsuit Settled
Americas

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that DynCorp International (Dyncorp) and The Sandi Group (TSG) have agreed to pay US$7.7 million and US$1.01 million respectively, to settle a whistleblower lawsuit brought by two former TSG employees in relation to police work in Iraq. DynCorp allegedly “submitted inflated claims for the construction of container camps at various locations in Iraq”, while TSG “sought reimbursement for danger pay that it falsely claimed to have paid its U.S. expatriate employees working in Iraq”.
DoJ’s media release (22 April 2011)
(Source: DoJ)