Prosecutor launches investigation into Turkish unit of drugmaker Novartis for alleged bribery

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL
Published 01.04.2016 12:28
Updated 01.04.2016 17:02
The logo of Swiss drugmaker Novartis is seen at its headquarters in Basel, Switzerland in this October 22, 2013 file photo (Reuters Photo)
The logo of Swiss drugmaker Novartis is seen at its headquarters in Basel, Switzerland in this October 22, 2013 file photo (Reuters Photo)

Ankara Chief Prosecutor's Office on Friday launched an investigation over allegations that an international pharmaceutical company has obtained unfair advantage and gained $85 million through bribery in Turkey.

The prosecutor launched an investigation into the Turkish unit of Swiss drugmaker Novartis after allegations the company benefitted from bribery.

Novartis has said the allegations against it were "unfounded" and based on a past complaint. Reuters reported this week that an anonymous whistleblower accused the company of paying bribes through a consulting firm to secure an estimated $85 million in business advantages.

Turkey's health ministry has opened a separate investigation into the allegations. A senior ministry official told reporters on Friday that no problems have been seen in that initial investigation.

The anonymous whistleblower said Novartis had paid a government relations consultant the equivalent of $290,000 plus costs during 2013 and 2014, before the Turkish Social Security Institution launched an investigation in 2015, leading the drugmaker to end the association.

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