Greece files €214M bribery suit against Novartis

The anticipated Greek lawsuit against Novartis has been filed, with the country asking for 214 million euros in compensation from the pharmaceutical giant.

Greek Health Minister Thanos Plevris said in a statement that the Greek state is seeking compensation for the damage it has suffered “from the actions that Novartis itself has admitted to in the USA that concerns payments to doctors.” The minister added that the state reserves the right to claim any damage it has suffered with a newer lawsuit and is clear that “all sanctions against Novartis for its illegal practices will be applied,” a Greek news outlet reports.

The illegal practices alleged include bribes to former government officials and healthcare providers to drive up Novartis sales in the country. The lawsuit comes two years after the company paid the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission $345 million to settle foreign bribery claims in several countries including Greece.

In the U.S. settlement, Novartis admitted it had used medical events and an academic study to bribe healthcare providers. Since the U.S. government has collected settlement money from the company, Greece wants a piece of the justice pie, too.

Novartis has had it rough lately. Just this month, a hacking group posted data allegedly from the company, although the drugmaker said no sensitive data were compromised.

Editor's note: This story was corrected to reflect that Novartis did not admit to bribing Greek officials in its U.S. settlement.