This article first appeared in Infobae on June 16, 2021.
On June 8, at the commission meeting held in the National Congress, in the Chamber of Deputies in particular, the deputy of Juan Manuel López asked Nicolás Vaquer, physician and general manager of Pfizer in Argentina, if in its integrity program there was not any alert about undue payments or acts of corruption in view of Law 27,401, or the liability of legal persons or companies, a rule that is applicable in our territory. The manager answered no, but this does not detract from the fact that it is only a public statement.
This act also has repercussions at an international level, as the company Pfizer must also report the FCPA resolutions in the USA, regarding potential acts of corruption, obliging itself to give a prompt response to its actions of private investigation, of journalists or of a judge.
This fact, which we rescue within the complexity that today is lived in the pandemic and in the pharmaceutical business, invites us to think about how multiple companies related at different scales to these companies provide resources for production, which is why all companies that contract with the State must comply with Law 27,401.
What does it mean to comply with Law 27.401? Following the case of Pzifer or any other company that contracts with the State, it must conform in its organization a Compliance Program or Regulatory Compliance Program adjusted to the size of the company, particularities of the business and volume of commercialization. That is to say, all companies, even SMEs, should have safeguards and warning systems if they supply or contract with companies related to the national government or do it directly. That is, if they are part of their supply chain or value chain they should also have an integrity policy in place.
What are the crimes that could be covered and should a robust compliance program alert? Bribery and influence peddling, national and transnational, negotiations incompatible with the exercise of public functions, extortion, illicit enrichment of officials and employees and/or aggravated false balance sheets and reports.
Putting on the public agenda the need to advance in Integrity Programs today is an imperative in order to strengthen organizational ethics and integrity practices in compliance with codes or policies that promote competitive business without acts of corruption that would suggest undue advantages in commercial activities.
An Integrity Program in an organization must therefore comply with the implementation of an ethics program consisting of: the set of actions, mechanisms and internal procedures for the promotion of integrity, supervision and control, aimed at preventing, detecting and correcting irregularities and illegal acts covered by the law. The required Integrity Program must be related to the risks inherent to the activity carried out by the legal entity, its size and economic capacity, in accordance with the provisions of the regulations.
This last paragraph is key and was part of what Pfizer’s manager emphasized in his presentation. They are exposed to multiple risks due to the activity and the business that is carried out at a high speed.
All this was a sample that comes to the case, to alert how the economic relations and the production in the different areas or commercial and industrial sectors in Argentina should be, if the conditions of the above mentioned law are fulfilled, but very little given to diffusion by the way.
If the law is complied with, we will be able to have greater investments from international and national pharmaceutical companies and multiple integrated national SMEs, improving our competitiveness and economic development.
This is neither more nor less than a greater reputation in productive quality and integrity of processes that today the world demands, wherever we are.