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Greek government alleges officials tied to pharmaceutical bribery scandal

The scandal allegedly involving 10 senior politicians from the previous administration and Swiss drugmaker Novartis has been dubbed 'the biggest scandal since the creation of the modern Greek state'

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06 February 2018

New evidence has seen a number of senior Greek politicians from the former administration come under fire regarding their alleged involvement in a bribery case involving Swiss drug firm Novartis, amid accusations the company made illegal payments to fix prices and increase market access.

Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis said the documents would be forwarded to parliament on Tuesday.

The investigation covering alleged bribery between 2006 and 2015 has brought up 10 politicians - eight former ministers and two ex-premiers - who have been allegedly shown to have been involved in the case.

Minister Kontonis' deputy going as far as to describe the allegations as "the biggest scandal since the creation of the modern Greek state".

"When we are talking about scandals that involve medicine, the moral implications are enormous," Minister Kontonis said.

"At a time of financial crisis and recession, when it's difficult for our poorer fellow citizens to find the drugs they need for their health, there were certain drug makers who in an illegal and provocative way, worked to provide drugs at inflated prices and used state officials in the National Health Service to make sure certain drugs available where they should not have been."

Prosecutors are looking to investigate eight former ministers, along with the head of the 2012 caretaker government Panayiotis Pikrammenos and former prime minister Antonis Samaras, reports Kathimerini.

A number of officials have issued statements to distance themselves from the matter, denying any involvement, including Samaras himself.

While politicians' parliamentary immunity protects them from being prosecuted, they are liable for money-laundering offences.

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