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Novartis CEO got it right: Future compliance ‘remains to be seen’

Novartis is what US Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York called a “repeat offender” – big time. But that doesn’t seem to bother Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez.

In 2010, Novartis settled a criminal and civil case for approximately $420 million and entered into a corporate integrity agreement. Last week, Novartis announced it had agreed to pay $390 million to settle whistleblower allegations that it had paid pharmacies kickbacks in the form of rebates to promote certain drugs.

Jimenez later said that the practice of paying pharmacies rebates to promote certain drugs is “quite common” and “whether we change our behavior or not remains to be seen,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

After the story was published, Novartis issued what it called a “clarification.”

“Some media coverage did not accurately reflect our position and the seriousness of the company’s commitment to working with the government to ensure our behaviors and interactions with specialty pharmacies meet the highest ethical standards,” Novartis said.

Based on the company’s record, as Jiminez said, “that remains to be seen.”

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