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Whistleblower Novartis faces Turkey bribe allegations

Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez is believed to have seen the whistleblower claims

(Keystone)

An internal whistleblower at Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis has accused the company of making $85 million from a kickback scheme in Turkey. After filing an internal complaint, the whistleblower has now gone public with bribery allegations.

The Reuters news agency says it has seen details of the whistleblower’s email sent internally to Novartis top brass. The accusation is that company officials funnelled bribes through an external consulting company to get Turkish government approval for drugs to be used in state-run hospitals.

“We take any allegation of inappropriate behaviour extremely seriously and investigate all allegations thoroughly. As a matter of policy we don’t comment on such investigations even if the complainant decides to make them public,” Novartis said in a statement.

The whistleblower accused the company of breaching the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which covers Novartis as a US-listed firm.

Elsewhere…

The company is currently under separate investigation in the US for an alleged kickback scheme to entice health professionals to prescribe its drugs. US prosecutors have demanded documents relating to almost 80,000 “sham” marketing events to which Novartis invited guest medical speakers.

The company has recently settled a US investigation into alleged bribery in China and is facing questions from the authorities in South Korea.

Novartis is by no means the only drugs company to face kickback allegations in the highly competitive global industry. Several other competitors have also been caught up in investigations as governments crack down on such behaviour.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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