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Case study: Investing in the pharmaceutical sector

A multinational corporation tasked us with assessing the reputation of the pharmaceutical company it was about to invest in. We focused on determining whether the company was involved in corrupt practices or a conflict of interest with politicians or civil servants. We simultaneously analysed the situation inside the company, unveiled the leadership strategy, and potential reputational risks and prepared scenarios for foreign expansions and acquisitions.


A multinational corporation focused on investing in the pharmaceutical industry.


Assess the risks associated with a pharmaceutical company active on the CEE nano-cosmetics market. We were asked to specifically focus on:

  • Business integrity: Find out whether the company follows the rules of transparent business and whether it is involved in illegal and unethical practices such as bribery, tax evasion and fraud.

  • Leadership integrity: Identify key people with real decision-making authority and check their professional and personal histories, whether they have been linked to corruption scandals, have negative records such as court cases and criminal prosecutions, or if they are connected to other problematic individuals.

  • Company ties to the public sector: Verify if the company has ties to the political representation of the country, particularly representatives of government parties and civil service employees.

  • Past corruption scandals: Verify, whether the company has been accused of corruption, whether this allegation was legitimate and if it still presents a threat to the company’s reputation.


We utilised sophisticated techniques and tools for data collection and analysis from various sources (OSINT) including the deep web, social media and official registers. Our findings provided the base for the verification and provision of additional information by relevant and trustworthy human sources (HUMINT).

Assessed areas:

● The professional history, expertise and reputation of key company employees

● The company’s payment record

● Corruption potential/history linked to corporate bodies and individuals

● The company’s treatment of employees, partners and suppliers

● The political context – ties to politicians/the civil service, which could accelerate/threaten business

● The media context – support/opposition/reputation


We reached the following conclusions.

Business Integrity

  • The company had good payment records and was not involved in dishonest commercial practices. Its products fulfilled the required norms.

Leadership integrity

  • Key individuals in the company had professional experience, expertise and a reputation in the sector.

  • Key decision-making powers were in the hands of a person working „backstage“, not in the hands of publicly searchable managers listed on the company website.

  • This person was using its social capital and contacts among politicians and the civil service to access business opportunities, however, they were not in a conflict of interest.

The company’s ties to the public sector

  • The company had strong ties to the government party, through which it accessed information about planned legislation and regulations in the pharmaceutical industry, which is strongly government-regulated.

  • The company hired former civil service employees or state administration members, which created the risk of a conflict of interest, despite that not being the case.

  • A change of government or the exit of politicians and officials tied to the government parties could deny the company access to information as well as further collaboration with the public sector.

Past corruption scandals

  • Past corruption scandals were unfounded and did not cause reputational damage.

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