Novartis Settles DoJ and SEC Charges for $347 Million

Novartis settled U.S. charges of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, bribing foreign health workers to use Novartis products.
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The Swiss drug giant Novartis  (NVS) - Get Report said it was paying fines of $347 million to settle charges with the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The settlement regards allegations that Novartis violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

“To resolve the DOJ investigation, Novartis Hellas has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement pertaining to inappropriate economic benefits provided to Greek healthcare professionals from 2012 to 2015 in connection with the ophthalmology product Lucentis,” the company said in a statement.

The DoJ’s fine is $233.9 million.

"To resolve the SEC investigation, Novartis has reached an agreement pertaining to internal controls and books and records violations in Greece, Vietnam and South Korea," the company said. The SEC’s fine is $112.8 million.

U.S. authorities accused Novartis of bribing Greek hospital workers to boost usage of its Lucentis treatment for macular degeneration. The feds also charged Novartis with making illegal payments to health providers in Vietnam and South Korea.

“Novartis AG’s subsidiaries profited from bribes that induced medical professionals, hospitals, and clinics to prescribe Novartis-branded pharmaceuticals and use Alcon surgical products,” Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said in a statement. “And they falsified their books and records to conceal those bribes.”

For Novartis’s part, “we are pleased that all outstanding FCPA investigations into the company are now closed,” Shannon Thyme Klinger, group general counsel, said in a statement.

“Today’s settlements represent another milestone in our commitment to resolving legacy compliance issues and ensuring that Novartis truly lives its values.”

Novartis American depositary receipts recently traded at $89.52, up 0.8%. They have risen 21% over the past three months.