Corruption Prosecutor Eleni Touloupaki on Wednesday brought criminal charges against two Novartis executives and a senior official of the health ministry in 2008 for overpricing diabetes medication released by Novartis in Greece in that year, under the brand name 'eucreas'.
Based on the prosecutor's findings, the initial sale price of the drug in Greece was unjustifiably high and also significantly higher than its sale price in other European countries.
According to the charges, the ministry official in charge of the department for pricing pharmaceuticals, who certified the higher drug price, is charged with providing false certification, aggravated by laws on public-sector embezzlement.
The two Novartis employees during the time in question are charge with morally instigating his actions.
According to the prosecutor, the losses to the public sector were significant since the price of the specific drug was at least 14 euros higher than it should have been. Based on press articles and other evidence, the drug first went onto the market at a price of 130 euros per unit and subsequently fell to 58 euros in the following months while its price on the French market was just 60 euros.
The drug essentially combined the active ingredients of two drugs already in circulation, one of which had already been on the market for 50 years and cost 2.30 euros and a second Novartis medication that was already available on the Greek market, costing 11 euros.
The case has already been forwarded to an examining magistrate.