ATHENS – A corruption prosecutor has brought bribery charges against four officials from the Greek branch of the German pharmaceutical company Bayer.
Officials said also charged with being accessories were a company employee and legal representative of two other Greek firms.
Eleni Raikou said there was evidence to show the four Bayer Hellas representatives bribed state doctors to promote their brand, paying them anything from 1,000 to 20,000 euros and offering perks such as free vacations, a common practice, pharmacists say.
According to the case file, more than 800 doctors and nurses at different hospitals around the country benefited from the scheme, either by regularly prescribing Bayer products or by compelling the hospital where they worked to order drugs produced by the German firm, Kathimerini said.
A dual investigation into similar allegations was also carried out in Cologne, Germany, where a Greek citizen claimed that he issued bogus invoices worth 2 million euros for Bayer Hellas from 2005-08.
He also claimed that around 800 doctors got paid off, backing up claims made later by Greece’s financial crimes squad during a raid on Bayer Hellas’s headquarters.
The doctors who were identified weren’t charged because the prosecutors said they didn’t take enough in bribes, a common practice in Greece.