Sanofi Exec Sentenced in Algeria for Overbilling

Sanofi Exec Sentenced in Algeria for Overbilling

June 29th, 2012 // 12:48 pm @


An appeals court in Algeria upheld a $25 million fine against Sanofi and a one-year suspended prison sentence for Thierry Lefebvre, its general manager in the North African nation, for overcharging for drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredients, according to media reports. Prosecutors had initially demanded a three-year sentence and a fine of up to twice the value of the alleged infraction, although the amount was not specified.

The complaint was filed last year by Algerian Customs, which maintained that Sanofi overpriced imported drugs and materials that were charged to its local subsidiary, a practice that is reportedly used widely by foreign drugmakers who face bookkeeping hurdles for locally made goods. Customs officials actually filed complaints against a dozen companies, both laboratories and importers, but their identities were not disclosed, according to reports.

In addition, Sanofi has been excluded from a project to build a center for biotechnology near Algiers, which has been in discussion for more than a year between the government and PhRMA, but has been clouded by disagreement over the extent to which Algeria may become dependent on drugmakers from the US, according to the reports (if you read French, you can read this and this. In English, you can read this and this).

We asked Sanofi for a comment and will update you accordingly. [UPDATE: A Sanofi spokesman sends us this: “Once again, Sanofi expresses its surprise and its inability to understand about the ruling pronounced on June 24th by the Court of Appeals of Algiers. Sanofi will appeal this decision to shed light on this case as it is convinced that it hasalways worked in strict compliance with the Algerian legislation. Sanofi has been present in Algeria for more than 20 years and is committed to patients, the medical community and public health service.”]

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