Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE:NVS) has been fined approximately $174,000 in South Korea after the company was found guilty of bribing physicians in order to induce them to recommend the pharmaceutical firm’s products. Additionally, some of the firm’s drugs have been pulled off the market temporarily.
Sales Ban And A Fine
A spokesperson for South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety acknowledged that a fine had been levied on 30 different drug products. A temporary sales ban of three months had also been imposed on three drug types. According to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety’s website the ban on sales will run between March 17 and June 16. Through a spokesperson, Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE:NVS) admitted the matter. Regarding patients who need these drugs, they will just have to suffer in order to satisfy the South Korean government’s sense of justice.
“We have acknowledged and regret that certain associates in Korea took actions in violation of our policies and inconsistent with our culture and the expectations society has for us and our industry,” a Novartis spokesperson said.
Last year in August, a total of six current and former employees of Novartis’s South Korean unit were charged with engaging in illicit activities in a bid to ramp drug sales. According to a spokesperson for the court, the six were accused of indirectly offering rebates to physicians via medical publications. In one instance, employees of Novartis got a trade publication to organize a doctors’ symposium and then had the publication pay each of the doctors about $438 as ‘travel expenses’ for their participation in the trade event. Six people from the medical publications were also charged.
Other than South Korea, Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE:NVS) is also facing probes in other countries. This includes the U.S. where the drug maker is facing charges similar to those in South Korea. In a report released in 2016, the Swiss drug maker disclosed that 1,701 misconduct cases involving employees of the company had been brought forward. The cases that were substantiated were 893. In 400 of these cases, the employees involved either resigned or were dismissed.
In Thursday’s trading session, shares of Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE:NVS) fell by 1.19% to close the day at $74.83 a share.
Note: This article is written by Adam Russell and originally published at Market Exclusive.