Swiss pharmaceutical Novartis bribed Greek politicians and thousands of doctors

On January 27, 2018, a post I did, “This flu season is an epidemic: Some died just 2 days after onset of symptoms,” elicited a torrent of comments from readers critical of Big Pharma, including assertions that drug companies pay doctors to prescribe medications and popularize flu shots.

A reporter for The Guardian just confirmed some of our worst suspicions.

In a Feb. 12, 2018 report, Helena Smith writes that Greece is rocked by an industrial-scale scandal involving senior government officials and physicians accepting bribes from the Swiss drugmaker Novartis. Deputy Justice Minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos calls it “the biggest scandal since the establishment of the Greek state” almost 200 years ago.

Note: Novartis International AG is a multinational pharmaceutical company based in Basel, Switzerland. One of the world’s largest drugmakers by both market capitalization and sales, Novartis manufactures flu vaccines and the drugs clozapine (Clozaril), diclofenac (Voltaren), carbamazepine (Tegretol), valsartan (Diovan), imatinib mesylate (Gleevec/Glivec), ciclosporin (Neoral/Sandimmun), letrozole (Femara), methylphenidate (Ritalin), terbinafine (Lamisil), and others.

According to a report compiled by Greek anti-corruption prosecutors with the help of U.S. authorities, between 2006 to 2015, Novartis bribed politicians to approve overpriced contracts, as well as paid thousands of doctors to boost sales.

The government officials who accepted bribes include:

  • Two former prime ministers Antonis Samaras and Panagiotis Pikrammenos.
  • Eight former ministers.
  • Governor of the Bank of Greece.
  • EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.

According to the Greek government, altogether, the kickbacks exceeded €50m ($61.97 million), at a cost to the Greek public health system of more than €4bn ($4.96 billion).

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has called for a parliamentary investigation, vowing there could be no cover-up: “We will make use of every power afforded by national and international law to recover the money stolen from the Greek people down to the last euro. We will do everything we can to reveal the truth.”

MPs will vote on establishing a committee of inquiry later this month. Only parliament has the power to investigate politicians for alleged infractions during their term in office.

The report’s reliance on three unnamed witnesses – who are currently under government protection – has been especially criticized, and legal experts contend that the claims would not stand up in court. The allegations have been rebutted vehemently by the accused:

  • EU commissioner Avramopoulos, accused of purchasing 16 million anti-flu vaccines from Novartis while health minister between 2006 and 2009, demanded that the identity of the witnesses be revealed. He said he is “disgusted” at the fabrications created by “sick minds”.
  • Vowing he would take legal action against PM Tsipras, former prime minister Samaras, who is accused of accepting suitcases stuffed with cash, calls the charges politically motivated and “the most ruthless and ridiculous conspiracy theory ever”.
  • Former PM Pikrammenos, who headed a caretaker government in May-June 2012, said he had never known anyone at Novartis.
  • Former deputy premier and finance minister Evangelos Venizelos denounced the claims as “a cheap political diversion”.

In a statement, Novartis said it was cooperating fully with Greek and US authorities: “We have also been conducting our own internal investigation. We are determined to fully understand the situation and accept responsibility for any actions that fell below our high standards of ethical business conduct. If any wrongdoing is found we will take fast and decisive action and do everything possible to prevent further misconduct.”

Novartis has faced similar investigations in recent years:

  • In 2017, South Korea fined the company $48m for offering kickbacks to doctors.
  • In April 2013, federal prosecutors filed two lawsuits against Novartis under the False Claims Act for off-label marketing and kickbacks. 27 states, the District of Columbia, and the cities of Chicago and New York joined the lawsuits. In both suits, prosecutors are seeking treble damages (source: Wikipedia):
    • The first suit accused Novartis of inducing pharmacies to switch thousands of kidney transplant patients to its immunosuppressant drug Myfortic in exchange for kickbacks disguised as rebates and discounts.
    • In the second suit, the Justice Department joined a whistleblower (qui tam) lawsuit brought by a former sales rep over off-label marketing of three drugs: hypertension drugs Lotrel and Valturna, and the diabetes drug, Starlix.

~Eowyn

28 responses to “Swiss pharmaceutical Novartis bribed Greek politicians and thousands of doctors

  1. it’s a scandal in greece, but commonplace in the usa…big pharma is the largest lobby group in the usa for a reason…profit over people’s lives….at all cost.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Probably why the recent gun grab. Because even the most subservient are awakening.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I should add, it’s going to be those who trusted and blindly followed, who will actually go nuts once they realize what they’ve done to their kids and grandkids. Not those of us who’ve been living with and have already accepted these, “conspiracies,” as fact.

        Frightening right now, for both sides, really.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, and big pharma owns our FDA billions exchange hands. That is why we get so many drugs approved only to find out some get recalled or they come with dozens of precautions.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s standard operating procedure in the US. Only the US and New Zealand allow advertising for prescription drugs. The doctors get kickbacks for prescribing their poison.

    Further, if they get a reputation as someone who won’t play ball, they’ll ruin them. It really is that bad.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. It is so disheartening that doctors, who are the gatekeepers to being able to access medications, that in many instances are necessary, would accept bribes. It is so disgusting. How can you really trust someone who would recommend a certain drug, based on what they will be paid to do so? I would suspect that if countries started pulling doctor’s credentials, even in a few cases–this might stem the tide of doctors being involved in this criminality. I would like to see some indictments of those who have participated in this thievery. Even if this method is used primarily to get the rest of physicians in line. Send them to hardcore prisons, not the country club ones . . . then perhaps this behavior would be stopped.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The only thing that surprised me here is SK is fining the company because of kickbacks. SK is a country that runs on bribes from personal, to Business to elections. I watch dozens of hours of SK a week and it never ceases to amaze me,

      Like

    • My thoughts too Auntie. We expect this from the vile pharma companies. After all they are all owned by the same people that own the banks and oil companies. But doctors? You would think someone who had pledged an oath to “first do no harm” would have a slight conscience. But then again, I think they actually eliminated the Hippocratic oath a few years ago. The fact is big pharma donates huge amounts to medical schools, and in turn they are allowed to write the ciriculum. So just how well are our doctors really educated? they are taught to push pills for pharma. Doctors used to be healers, now, they are for the most part brainwashed minions. Add to that the general decay of our culture, what makes us think doctors would be immune from degeneracy and corruption like any other person. In fact most doctors are scientists, or have scientific minds that are so myopic in their thinking they have a hard time seeing the big picture or intuiting anything- that includes believing in God or religion- I know, I been around way more than I ever would have wanted, and if I had my way I’d never see another doctor in my life. In general they are one of the most arrogant lots of people I have ever encountered. A really great doctor is a rare gem these days.

      Liked by 4 people

      • The fact is the Rockefeller Brothers (Rockefeller Bros. Foundation) took over the medical school, with foundation grants, about the turn of the 20th century to ensure only allopathic medicine (slash, cut, burn, & drugs) would be taught in “medical” schools. They intentionally drove all midwives, homeopaths, naturopaths out of business with the “quack” slur. They already had much of the media to help them with the propaganda side of things. The Rockefeller family also funded that sodomite pederast (“sexologist”) Alfred Kinsey, at the University of Indiana, in order to ruin morality. Even after all of the dirt that has come out about Kinsey and what he and his ‘scientists’ did to children, and how all of his studies were actually done using imprisoned sex offenders, prostitutes (male and female), lesbians and sodomites, claiming they were the “typical American male and female”, the “Kinsey Institute” is still operational at the university of Indiana. What does that tell you?

        Liked by 1 person

    • Read “Side Effects: Death”, Confessions of a Pharma Insider” by John Virapen. Pharmaceutical companies pay big bucks to these doctors. Pharma reps used to give them free food, free meds and trips.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. What’s new? Nothing to see here, move along people, it’s just business as usual.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Such things are part of the reason I have not had a flu shot since the 1970s. My primary care doctor has been pressuring me to get a flu shot and a shingles shot. I am considering the shingles shot, but have so many suspicions about the vaccines that I have no t yet complied.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. They ruined the neighborhood pharmacies that helped the community depend on them, the pharmacists and their family worked so hard to keep the business going, they were nice, they knew you and they lived in the same neighborhood, they would advise on helpful remedies, now like everything good have disappear never to be seen again.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Read “Side Effects: Death”, Confessions of a Pharma Insider” by John Virapen. Tells it all.
    Don’t believe the hype…about anything! Especially school shootings and vaccines.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t read that, though have noted that the average American high IQ was 125 in 1995. Currently, it’s around 103. In the mid 1980’s, my brother and I had to suffer through multiple day IQ tests. His hovered just over the 100 mark (possibly even 103), and he was considered, “learning disabled.”

      My point? Yes, the education system has been hard at work turning people into lemmings, but 120 to 103! Something else is at hand. Vaccines possibly?

      Liked by 1 person

      • To add to my thoughts above, add to the vaccines, legal drugs, gmo, whatever is being sprayed in the air, etc. are all probably hard at work numbing the minds of the people.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I got my info from an article in the parade magazine from 1995 that said LE couldn’t have an IQ above 125, as that was the then American average high. In college I wrote about, and while digging for that found an article of a NYS man (I believe), who was denied a LE job bc his IQ was above the allowed 103, as that was the current American mean.

          I’m using my cell, but if it’s important, I could always look up my old papers in my laptop.

          ***not that I’m disputing what you posted. Just explaining where and how I came about w my numbers.

          Liked by 1 person

        • FLUORIDE….lowers the IQ by an average of 10 points.

          Like

      • That, and the ‘recommended diet’ espoused by the USDA. Remember the food pyramid (illumati symbol anyone?) and My Plate (newer version)? Everything is low fat, no fat, no decent animal fats, eating lots of grains and sugar and refined foods make your brain shrink. Eschewing organ meats doesn’t help, it’s impossible to get real meat with any fat on it at a store. Diet influences brain function.

        Like

      • Fluoride has been proven to lower the IQ an average of 10 points. They are poisoning the water we drink too. Can someone tell the date in which there was an epidemic of people dying from tooth decay? No? Oh that’s right it never happened. Just companies finding a cheap way to dispose of their toxic waste in our water. Fluoride was also used to keep the people in concentration camps docile. Are you seeing the picture yet?

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Oh, chem…I am not a scientist or a published expert….but…just in my own family genalogy research that covers centuries…..I’ve noticed that the generations in my family that lived the longest (some into their 90’s and others whom passed 100)….were in the generations born in the century between 1820-1920. This assumes that there were conditions that happened before 1820 and after 1920 that are adverse to longevity at this rate. This could mean different reasons for the before and after dates…….or same reasons…..or new reasons for differentiation. However….it STILL tells me that I might not live as long as my DNA predacessors who were born between 1820-1920…and I’d like to know WHY(????) b/c I’ve had far superior health care, in theory, and far suprerior intervention in active infective care (antibiotics) in my life time…..far superior dental care….and most other things like this I can think of. This is a total mystery to me as a rational historic researcher….I need someone in science/biology/genetics/whatever to chime in here.

    Liked by 1 person

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