A former employee of pharmaceutical company Pfizer has been charged with insider trading related to the company’s Covid-19 drug. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged the former employee, Sungjae “Jay” Lee, with making illegal trades based on non-public information about the company’s Covid-19 treatment.
According to the SEC, Lee worked as a senior associate in Pfizer’s statistical research and data sciences department during the time when the company was developing its Covid-19 drug. He allegedly accessed non-public information about the drug’s progress and traded on that information to make a profit.
The SEC alleges that Lee made a series of illegal trades in Pfizer stock options and other securities, resulting in profits of over $300,000. The trades were made between July and August 2020, during a crucial period when the company’s Covid-19 drug was undergoing clinical trials and receiving regulatory approvals. Insider trading involves trading stocks or other securities based on non-public information, giving an unfair advantage to those who possess such information. It is illegal and undermines the integrity of the financial markets.
The SEC’s complaint seeks a permanent injunction against Lee, as well as disgorgement of his ill-gotten gains plus interest and civil penalties. The criminal authorities have also reportedly filed charges against Lee.
Pfizer has stated that it is fully cooperating with the authorities in their investigations. The company has strict policies and controls in place to prevent insider trading and is committed to maintaining the highest standards of ethical conduct. Insider trading cases related to Covid-19 drugs have gained increased attention during the pandemic, as companies race to develop treatments and vaccines. Authorities have been vigilant in identifying and prosecuting individuals who attempt to exploit non-public information for personal gain.