The

Securities and Exchange Commission

reportedly is investigating whether

Bristol-Myers Squibb

(BMY) - Get Report

gave inappropriate incentives to wholesalers to boost 2001 revenue.

The agency is looking into the possibility that Bristol-Myers manipulated its inventory levels to inflate wholesaler sales last year by some $1 billion, the

Financial Times

reported. The company confirmed to the newspaper that the SEC was making informal inquiries into its wholesaler sales and said it was cooperating fully.

The company's shares were down 6% to $21.75 in the Instinet premarket session.

Bristol admitted in April that wholesaler inventory levels "significantly exceed levels the company considers desirable." It said it was reducing shipments to lower inventories to levels more consistent with market demand, adding that the reductions would cut earnings by 35-40 cents a share.