Istanbul’s chief prosecutor has filed charges against 30 firms including Roche, Abdi Ibrahim, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer for overcharging government institutions for pharmaceuticals. Following the lawsuit filed last month against pharmaceutical giant Roche for overcharging the Social Security Authority and the Ministry of Health, 29 other drug firms are now being sued for “organized crime.” The lawsuit against the 30 firms accuses the firms of overcharging public institutions when selling their drugs. The firms are charged with “participating in an unlawful organization formed with the aim of committing crime, abusing authority, forging official documents and lying in official documents.”
The main accusation in the case is “damaging public interest” by using a reference pricing system for imported medicine. According to this system, those medicines to be imported to Turkey should be priced compared to the lowest price of their equivalents in France, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Portugal. It is contended that the 30 firms in question did not select the lowest price in this process, thus overcharging the public. While investigating Roche – the starting point of the lawsuit – for overcharging the SSK and the Health Ministry, it was learned that 29 other firms had also overcharged government institutions. The investigation revealed that 30 firms had sold 209 different medications to government institutions at prices for higher than what the Health Ministry had decided upon earlier. Subsequently, the ministry filed a criminal complaint with the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office.
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