Greek state to sue Novartis for 214 million euros


The Greek state is suing Swiss-American multinational pharmaceutical giant Novartis for 214 million euros, Health Minister Thanos Plevris said Friday.

The statement said the state is seeking compensation for non-pecuniary damage it has suffered “as a result of actions that Novartis itself has admitted to in the US relating to payments to physicians.”

“The Greek State reserves the right to seek redress for any damage it has suffered in the new lawsuit, and we clearly understand that all sanctions will be applied against Novartis for its illegal actions,” the minister said.

In recent years, Novartis has shelled out $1.3 billion in the US to settle allegations that it offered kickbacks to doctors and illegal co-payments to Medicare patients to boost drug sales.

Exactly one month ago with the same statement Health Minister Thanos Pleuris spoke. The minister said in a statement: “In fulfilling our obligation to the government to seek compensation from Novartis for all illegal activities, and in accordance with NSC protocol, we are also taking the following actions:

a) a mandate to establish a trading committee;

b) an order to appoint a law firm in the United States to protect the rights of the Greek state;

c) an order to bring an action before Greek justice demanding compensation for insulting the Greek state, subject to any additional damages to be determined and already prepared.

The minister was not immune to the temptation to attack the main opposition in SYRIZA, which during its tenure (2015-2019) shed light on scandal with Novartisclaiming that government officials were involved. In the Pleuris statement concluded:

“Unlike the SYRIZA government, which invested in the conspiracy and demanded nothing from the company, the New Democracy government is taking every step to hold Novartis accountable and compensate the Greek state for its illegal actions.”

You accused us of corruption, get charged with treason

Like Athens News reported June 15the Deputy Attorney General recommended in a report that former Deputy Attorney General Dimitris Papangelopoulos in the SYRIZA coalition government and three prosecutors be tried by a special tribunal in connection with the Novartis case.

In her recommendations to the Judicial Council, the prosecutor argued that there was evidence that the former minister and three judicial officials had abused their powers and acted in a way that confirmed conspiracy charges. One of the court officials is prosecutor Eleni Tulupaki, who compiled a dossier on 10 prominent Greek politicians.

According to daily efsynthe prosecutor also recommended that all charges against publisher Ioannis Philippakis and journalists Kostas Vaksevanis, Gianna Papadakus and Alexandros Tarkas be dropped.

In an angry statement, the main opposition party SYRIZA accused the ruling New Democracy of “instrumentalization of justice”, stressing that “they are organizing a special trial for an alleged offense.”
In 2018, during the reign of SYRIZA, criminal cases were opened in the Novartis case against 10 leaders of the New Democracy party.
Among those suspected of involvement in corruption were former prime ministers Antonis Samaras (2012-2015) and Panagiotis Picrammenos (prime minister of the service government in May-June 2012), former ministers Yiannis Sturnaras (now head of the Bank of Greece), Dimitris Avramopoulos (now European Commissioner for Migration and Internal Affairs), Adonis Georgiadis, Evangelos Venizelos (former Deputy Prime Minister – Foreign Minister, former Minister of Finance, Defense, Culture, Justice), Andreas Likurentzos, Marios Salmas, Andreas Loverdos, Yorgos Koutrumanis.

a) a mandate to establish a trading committee;

b) an order to appoint a law firm in the United States to protect the rights of the Greek state;

c) an order to bring an action before Greek justice demanding compensation for insulting the Greek state, subject to any additional damages to be determined and already prepared.

The minister was not immune to the temptation to attack the main opposition in SYRIZA, which during its tenure (2015-2019) shed light on scandal with Novartisclaiming that government officials were involved. In the Pleuris statement concluded:

“Unlike the SYRIZA government, which invested in the conspiracy and demanded nothing from the company, the New Democracy government is taking every step to hold Novartis accountable and compensate the Greek state for its illegal actions.”



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