It really seems like the pharma industry is working pretty hard these days to take over from hedge funds as the poorest behaved big-money business sector
Ain't that right, Sandoz China - subsidiary of Novartis?
Not content to be left in the dust of the Valeants and the Shkrelis, it appears that the guys who brought you Ritalin are up to some pretty crazy antics. At least according to an SEC enforcement order issued yesterday:
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. 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. Examples include improperly recording the payments as legitimate expenses for travel and entertainment, conferences, lecture fees, marketing events, educational seminars, and medical studies.
Ohhhh? What kind of "entertainment?"
In 2009, Sandoz China sponsored twenty Chinese HCPs to attend the American College of Surgeons 95th Annual Clinical Congress in Chicago. While the Clinical Congress was devoted to educational purposes, the HCPs were also provided purely sightseeing or recreational activities, such as an excursion to Niagara Falls. Sandoz China also paid for travel to the U.S. for spouses of the HCPs, $150 in "pocket" or "walking around" money, and cover charges at a strip club. A senior manager of Sandoz China and other Sandoz China employees accompanied the HCPs to Chicago.
If we've said it once, we've said it a thousand times: If you're a freaky drug company account man looking to explain all that money on your corporate card account from the medical congress trip to Chicago, you only need to remember two words... "Steak Dinner."
But while the pain of an SEC enforcement tends to linger, we'd like to ease your pain by telling you how much we appreciate the image of so many bored doctors taking a break from the world's most boring boondoggle and throwing Novartis' money in large falling arcs all around a Chicago strip club.