Biocon signs up with external law firm to review governance process at vendor firms


has engaged an external law firm to do a comprehensive review of its current governance processes involving its consultants and vendors, according to a top executive at the Bengaluru-based biopharmaceutical company.

The management, the person told ET on Sunday, was committed to strengthen its compliance and governance practices across Biocon Group entities.

“The Company already has a strong code of conduct and an anti- bribery and anti-corruption clause in its contracts with all its vendors. The management now plans to step up its vigilance and with help from an external law firm it has appointed, it aims to plug the gaps and strengthen its governance system,” the executive added.

The company’s action came in response to CBI naming five persons including a senior Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), top executives at Delhi-based consulting firm Bioinnovat Research Services and the national regulatory head at Biocon Biologics for allegedly offering a bribe to help with waiver of phase III clinical trials. Biocon, however, has denied the allegations.

In a related development, a pharma multinational has


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Formally terminated its contract with Bioinnovat after it got ensnared in the bribery case. A senior executive at the company cited violation of the vendor agreement for its action, while refusing to divulge further details.

Pharma research firms tend to outsource activities like liaising with the government departments and regulators as they are usually long-drawn involving multiple visits, people associated with the sector said.

A top executive at an Indian life-sciences firm told this paper that most big pharma companies get their vendors and consultants to sign an anti-bribery and corruption clause before hiring their services.

The multinationals, based in the US or listed on the US exchanges, follow this more stringently as any hint of corruption in their dealings even at an overseas operation would invite close scrutiny back home as well as severe legal actions and penalties.

Bioinnovat, with offices in Gurgaon and Mumbai, introduces itself as a premier biopharmaceutical resource organization with India centric operations. The company’s website lists several large multinational and Indian firms as its clients. The firm says it offers regulatory and resourcing services, among other things.

Executives at a life-sciences research firm ET spoke to said they pay the consultant a retainer fee every month and a success fee every time it successfully closes regulatory approvals.

Emailed queries to half a dozen pharma firms and Bioinnovat, remained unanswered as at press time.

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