News 30 Dec 13

Croatia Charges Hundreds in Drugs Corruption Case

The Croatian authorities have indicted 364 people including doctors and pharmacists for allegedly giving or taking bribes to prescribe one company’s medicines.

BIRN

The country’s anti-corruption office USKOK said on Saturday that it had charged the suspects after a huge investigation centred on Croatian drugs firm Farmal.

“The charges have been raised against 364 Croatian citizens and the Farmal pharmaceutical company for bribery, abuse of power and corruption,” USKOK said in a statement.

Several Farmal executives are accused of running the corrupt scheme which allegedly saw bribes offered to a network of doctors and pharmacists across Croatia to sell the company's products. Money and other incentives were allegedly offered as rewards.

Local media reported that 300 of those charged are believed to be doctors.

USKOK said that it launched the wide-ranging investigation, codenamed Hippocratus, in November 2012.

Farmal’s website says that the company “produces and markets generic drugs of the highest quality”.

“Our products enjoy the confidence of the [medical] profession,” the website says.

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