NEWS

As Greece aims to seek compensation from Novartis, concerns about expired offenses

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Greece aims to seek financial compensation from Swiss drugmaker Novartis in connection with the bribery scandal concerning which the company settled out of court in the United States, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said on Friday. Meanwhile, Greek judicial officials expressed concern that most of the offenses found to have been committed by doctors have likely expired under the statute of limitations.

Petsas said the government will seek advice from the State Legal Council on its plan to seek compensation. 

He added that the decision by US authorities “firstly demolishes the conspiracy set up by SYRIZA against its political rivals and exposes its leadership, and secondly fully vindicates the positions expressed from the outset by Kyriakos Mitsotakis, both as main opposition leader and as prime minister.” SYRIZA “did nothing to expose those who really harmed the Greek state,” he added. 

SYRIZA, for its part, claimed that the reference to “officials” in the Department of Justice’s document concerns politicians as well as doctors at state hospitals. 

The US Department of Justice said late Thursday that Novartis Hellas will pay a $225 million criminal penalty for bribing doctors, hospitals and clinics to prescribe the company’s drugs. It found that from 2012 to 2015 Novartis Hellas conspired to bribe employees of state-owned hospitals and clinics in Greece to buy more Novartis-branded drugs including Lucentis, which treats a form of age-related vision loss.

Novartis said “the resolutions contain no allegations relating to any bribery of Greek politicians, which is consistent with what Novartis found in its own internal investigation.”