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Bill Seeks To Transfer Pharma FCPA Civil Settlement Amounts To Pediatric Disease Research

Childhood cancer and other rare pediatric diseases are heartbreaking.

But should certain FCPA settlement amounts fund pediatric disease research?

Representative Jennifer Wexton (D-Va) thinks so as she, along with co-sponsors  Tom Cole (R-OK), Peter Welch (D-VT) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), recently introduced H.R. 6556 [1] – a bill that seeks to amend the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions by transferring FCPA civil settlement amounts by pharmaceutical companies to pediatric disease research. The bill is titled the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0. Miller (pictured – died of cancer in 2013 at the age of 10).

In 2014,The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act was enacted which officially ended taxpayer contribution to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and launched a pediatric research initiative through the National Institutes of Health, appropriating $126 million, over the next 10 years, to childhood disease research.

H.R. 6556 seeks to add funding for the program by transferring “civil monetary sanctions, including penalties, disgorgement, and interest” recovered under the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions from pharmaceutical companies to the 10-Year Pediatric Research Initiative Fund [2].

In introducing the bill [3], Representative Weston stated:

“With investment in research for childhood cancer and other rare pediatric diseases at a historic low, we are failing the tens of thousands of children across the country who are battling these illnesses. We can do better for our kids. By redirecting the penalties from pharmaceutical companies that break the law, we can fund lifesaving medical research. I’m proud to introduce the bipartisan Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0 to help carry on the fight against devastating childhood illnesses.”

Representative Welch stated:

“Establishing the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Fund was an important step to help children battle rare cancers. This new legislation will make sure that fines levied against Pharma’s bad actors will be put towards a good cause—researching cures to these terrible childhood cancers. I hope that Congress can once again put down the partisan battle axes to give children a better chance at beating these brutal diseases.”

Representative Cole stated:

“I have long been a proponent of medical research especially for illnesses and diseases that affect our most vulnerable. The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0 would expand funding for childhood diseases by redirecting monetary penalties levied against pharmaceutical manufacturers toward valuable research. By doing this, we can hopefully uncover links between childhood cancer and birth defects and save the lives of children. I am proud to be a co-sponsor of this important piece of legislation.”

[4]

Representative Bilirakis stated:

“Pediatric cancer remains the number one disease that leads to the death of American children. While survival rates have improved for some types of pediatric cancers, thousands of children are lost to cancer each year and many more encounter life threatening complications related to harsh chemotherapies. Children have significantly fewer treatment options than adults and oftentimes must rely on treatment regimens developed for adults because pediatric-specific treatments simply do not exist for many pediatric cancers and rare diseases. The Gabriella Miller Kids First Pediatric Research Program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is working to develop a large-scale data resource to help researchers uncover new insights into the biology of childhood cancer and structural birth defects, including the discovery of shared genetic pathways between these disorders. This foundational research is critical for facilitating a better understanding of pediatric cancers, and holds the promise for the development of better treatments and possible cures. As a longtime advocate for children and rare disease patients, I am proud to join my colleagues in pushing for the continuation of this crucial research.”

H.R. 6556 represents the latest bill regarding certain FCPA settlement amounts.

As discussed in this previous post [5], in July 2019 the “Countering Russian and Other Overseas Kleptocracy Act” (“CROOK Act”) was introduced in the House. The bill seeks “an amount equal to five percent of each civil and criminal fine and penalty imposed pursuant to actions brought under the FCPA … that would otherwise be deposited in the Treasury of the United States” to fund the Anti-Corruption Action Fund.”

As discussed in this previous post [6], in December 2019 a Senate version of the CROOK Act was introduced seeking to tax certain FCPA enforcement actions (those in which total criminal fines and penalties are in excess of $50 million) by imposing an “additional prevention payment equal to $5 million which shall be deposited in the Anti-Corruption Action Fund.”

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