China Bribery Scandal Now Engulfs Novartis

China Bribery Scandal Now Engulfs Novartis

August 14th, 2013 // 1:24 pm @

Latest FDA and cGMP Compliance News

The latest pharmaceutical company to get sucked into the China bribery scandal is Novartis. An ex-sales rep at the company has alleged that the company was offering bribes to physicians in some places to increase sales of Sandostatin LAR, which is designed to treat stomach cancers.

The rep, as reported in The Shanghai Daily, is named Li LI, and has claimed that she was told to make sure that $105,000 is sales were made by providing incentives of $8000 to doctors. The bribe was likely suggested by a manager, as Li was having trouble meeting her sales targets. She also has said that reps were ordered to tell doctors to prescribe the drug for uses that are not approved.

Novartis told the Daily that the rep started working in their oncology business this year and was only working in hospitals in northeast China. The rep is trying to claim $800,000 in compensation.

This problem with Novartis is just the latest allegation to come to the surface due to the bribery scandal. Last week, a whistleblower said that Sanofi was offering research grants of more than $300,000 to as many as 500 doctors in 80 hospitals in China. The Shanghai Health and Family Planning Commission is now watching connections to the pharmaceutical company as well as the use of any drugs made by Sanofi.

The entire scandal first started when Chinese authorities started to look into GSK for allegedly bribing doctors to increase drug sales. At this time, Chinese police detained 4 executives and have questioned up to 18 staff, after allegations that the company has funneled as much as $490 million to various travel agencies to make bribes, and even sexual favors to both government officials and doctors.

Also, two Astrazeneca workers were questioned by government officials and police in China. Eli Lilly, UCB, Lundbeck and Novo Nordisk also have said that the police have come to their plants and asked them for more information about how they conduct business.

 


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