Novartis settlement with U.S. SEC on China bribes one in a string

Swiss-based Novartis ($NVS) has paid the U.S. SEC $25 million to settle civil charges it bribed medical personnel in China to boost drug sales during the decade from 2003 to 2013. The settlement follows a March decision by Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMS) to stop direct-to-doctor sales support activities in China after it was fined $14.7 million in October last year to settle a case under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for providing cash incentives and gifts to promote China sales. As well, in February China-focused SciClone Pharmaceuticals ($SCLN) settled a similar case for $12.8 million. The string of settlements also points to how companies, led by GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) that paid a $489 million fine in China in 2014 on bribery charges, are reassessing drug sale methods in China as the country pursues its own corruption crackdown. Last year for example, China moved to scrap a markup on drugs by state hospitals that used the earnings to fund operations--and which provided an incentive for doctors to write prescriptions. More from FiercePharma