Novartis AG agreed to pay more than $25 million to the U.S. government to settle civil charges that it bribed healthcare professionals in China, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said.
According to the SEC filing, from at least 2009 to 2013, certain employees and agents of Novartis subsidiaries conducting business in China engaged in transactions and provided things of value to foreign officials, principally healthcare professionals ("HCPs"). These payments took varied forms and were intended to influence the HCPs and thereby increase sales of Novartis pharmaceutical products.
The SEC said employees and managers in the involved subsidiaries attempted to conceal the true nature of the transactions through the use of complicit third parties and by improperly recording the relevant transactions on the books and records of the respective subsidiaries, which were consolidated in the financial reports of Novartis.
The agency said Novartis cooperated with its investigation and conducted its own internal review into the matter.
Read the full SEC filing here