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Novartis employee pleads guilty in Poland bribe case

An executive at Swiss pharma Novartis pleaded guilty in a bribery prosecution in Poland, the company has confirmed.

Poland’s anti-corruption bureau charged two women with bribery. Prosecutors said they gave a health fund official a tourist trip worth more than $1,000 in exchange for backing the sale of a particular drug, Reuters said.

Both defendants pleaded guilty and are waiting to be sentenced.

Basel-based Novartis confirmed last week that one of the two women was an employee who had been put on leave, Reuters said.

“Novartis can confirm that an employee was recently interviewed by authorities in Poland in connection with an ongoing enquiry,” the company said in an emailed statement.

Novartis said it hasn’t been named as a target in the prosecution.

French pharma Sanofi said earlier this month it is investigating possible illegal payments in the Middle East and Africa from 2007 to 2012 following allegations from an anonymous whistleblower.

GlaxoSmithKline last month paid a fine in China of $490 million following a conviction for bribing doctors and health officials.

GSK is also investigating allegations of corrupt payments in the United Arab Emirates. Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Poland.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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