Boston Scientific said it’s investigating allegations of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations in Vietnam after receiving a whistleblower letter about the alleged practices in March.
The company didn’t provide other details and said it’s cooperating with government agencies in its latest quarterly filing.
The FCPA was enacted to make it unlawful for companies to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business. Other provisions of the act cover the need to keep books and records that accurately reflect transactions and maintain an adequate system of internal accounting controls.
Vietnam makes up a small part of Boston Scientific’s business. The company includes the country in the emerging markets section of its financial results, bundling it with 19 other countries including Brazil, China and India that it thinks have “strong growth potential.”
In the second quarter, emerging markets collectively generated revenues of $427 million, compared to Boston Scientific’s total net sales of $3.2 billion.
Still, emerging markets are an important growth driver. Boston Scientific has increased its investment in the countries to maximize opportunities, leading to growth of about 26% in the territories last year. The growth caused emerging markets’ share of net sales to rise to 12%. The company has “supported patients and healthcare professionals” in Vietnam since 2015.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lists FCPA enforcement as a “high priority area.” In recent years, the SEC has taken enforcement actions against companies including Fresenius Medical Care, Stryker, Alere and Biomet.