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Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) agreed to pay more than $21 million for maintaining a false set of accounting books in connection with bribes paid to government officials in Russia and Turkey in order to boost use of its most important drug. The settlement also covers inaccurate financial records concerning payments that were made to patient advocacy groups, among others, in Brazil and Colombia.

Between 2010 and 2015, the company paid more than $1.3 million to a consultant in Turkey who used some of the money to bribe government officials to ensure prescriptions for Soliris, a treatment for combatting a rare blood disorder. Not only were the payments recorded inaccurately, but were done in pencil, so the numbers could later be changed, according to an order filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission in federal court.


At the same time, Alexion managers paid more than $100,000 to various health care providers who served on Ministry of Health commissions, where they were responsible for approving or denying patient prescriptions and had influence over key regulatory matters, such as treatment guidelines and reimbursement criteria.

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