Medical (incl. medical device & pharma) - Written by on Monday, January 31, 2011 9:59 - 0 Comments

Newsletter: A round up of the most interesting developments, a quiz winner & Bribery Act denial continues…

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It’s just under two months since we penned our year end newsletter.  Much water has passed under the bridge

Breaking News

Yesterday we reported it has been announced that the implementation of the Bribery Act is delayed (again) pending publication of the guidance.

We became aware last week that the guidance would not be published on time and, broadly speaking, it has long been viewed by commentators and others that there would be a three month gap between publication of guidance and the implementation of the new law.

In short.  We are not surprised the new law is delayed, for a short while.

Our expectation is that publication of the guidance will be a matter of weeks and not months.

The new law and tough enforcement stance of the SFO is not a case of if, but instead when.  Business would be well advised to prepare now.

The three pieces of guidance are (1) Adequate Procedures to prevent bribery, (2) prosecutorial discretion and (3) corporate hospitality for sporting events.

We expect them shortly.

BAe resolution

Marking the closure of a lengthy and controversial chapter for BAe and the SFO, BAe was fined £500,000 and ordered to pay £250,000 costs following its guilty plea in November for books and records offences. The Judge noted moral pressure placed upon the Court to ensure the fine it ordered was limited disclosing that under the deal the fine would be deducted from BAe’s reparations (£30 million) to the people of Tanzania.
The guilty plea followed its global settlement with the US DOJ and UK’s SFO earlier in 2010.
The deal was subjected to judicial criticism. The judge said that the UK Plea Agreement had been loosely and hastily drafted and expressed surprise that it stipulated there will be no further UK investigations or prosecution for any of BAe’s conduct before February 2010. However, all said and done: the Court honoured the deal struck between the SFO and BAe.

Interview with Vivian Robinson QC

In the early part of January we interviewed Vivian Robinson QC, General Counsel of the SFO. We covered a lot of ground (and got rave reviews too).
Mr. Robinson highlighted the position the courts are likely to take when considering whether an overseas business should be subject to the provisions of the Bribery Act (low) and the risk that Senior Officers of organisations run if they do not put in place Adequate Procedures to prevent bribery (high)!

The last hurrah AKA Bribery Act denial continues…

The New Year heralded an onslaught of criticism from commentators. In particular a campaign led by the Evening Standard and the Daily Telegraph, to stop the Bribery Act dead in its tracks.
The campaign centred on two key themes. One expected the other less so.
Predictably, criticisms of the new law were reheated again and received unprecedented coverage and attention grabbing headlines.

Less expected was the report, on Thursday 13th January, in an exclusive in the Evening Standard that the Bribery Act is under government review. Other newspapers quickly picked up the story.
Reports of the death of the Bribery Act are greatly exaggerated
We looked behind the headlines.

Instead of a specific review of the new law in the wake of sustained media attacks we uncovered that the review is part of a wider government review into all departments, laws and policies.
Far from being a late breaking development the so-called ‘Growth Review’ was announced in November to a fanfare by Vince Cable and George Osborne with a view to kick-starting the UK economy in the wake of the credit crunch.

On 14th January answering questions about the report in the Evening Standard Downing Street confirmed its commitment to anti bribery measures.

On Saturday 15th January we wrote why we thought reports of the Bribery Act were greatly exaggerated in: “The review by No. 10: Will pigs fly? We don’t think so.” In it we concluded that the reports about the ‘Growth Review’ were “much ado about nothing”.

Over the course of the next week or so various other commentators and professionals adopted a similar stance, namely that material change to the Bribery Act is not anticipated.

On 19th January Pillsbury even agreed it was “much ado about nothing”, for the same reasons we did, which was nice.

New Pharmaceutical rules

On January 1st, in the run up to the coming into force of the Bribery Act new UK pharmaceutical promotions rules were introduced which will come into effect fully at the end of April.

Do the cobblers kids have shoes?

Catrin Griffiths of the Lawyer magazine reported that Shell is now quizzing its law firm advisers on their anti-corruption policies. We predict that more corporates will question their advisers about their own anti-corruption as part of their Adequate Procedures to prevent bribery.

And finally…Drum roll

We are pleased to announce the winner of our Christmas/New Year quiz.
And the winner is: Richard Tyler, Enterprise Editor of the Daily Telegraph who wins a fantastic iPod shuffle. Congratulations we’ll make sure that we post it to Richard before April 1st…

It didn’t go to tie break but if it had the winner would have been Sam Vicary who came up with the line:

“the site is written by witty individuals with a sense of humour!”

Flattery *will* get you a mention in our newsletter…and in Sam’s case wins an iPod shuffle too.

All the answers to the quiz are on the website here.

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