Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is being investigated by regulators in the USA concerning possible violations of laws concerning bribery of officials abroad.

In a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commissions, the Israeli drugmaker notes that it has received a subpoena from the latter last month to produce "documents with respect to compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act in Latin America". Teva says it is cooperating with the government.

The firm added that it is also conducting "a voluntary investigation into certain business practices which may have FCPA implications and has engaged independent counsel to assist in its investigation". These matters "are in their early stages and no conclusion can be drawn at this time as to any likely outcomes", Teva concluded.

The SEC has targeted a number of drugmakers in the last few years, as part of a wide-ranging investigation into the payment of kickbacks to foreign health officials in return for benefits such as the inclusion of products on formularies. In November, Pfizer reached an agreement with the agency to pay around $60 million to settle a foreign bribery investigation and in April last year, Johnson & Johnson was fined $70 million for bribing public doctors throughout Europe and paying kickbacks to Iraq to secure 19 contracts under the United Nations Oil for Food Programme.

Other drugmakers known to have been probed by the SEC include Bristol-Myers Squibb, which received a subpoena in April, Merck & Co, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly.