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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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August 14, 2013

Now It's Novartis's Turn in China

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Posted by Derek

So reports FiercePharma, quoting a story in the 21st Century Business Herald and the Shanghai Daily. A former Novartis sales rep says that she was "ordered" to bribe doctors to meet sales quotas. As Tracy Staton at Fierce puts it:

With Chinese authorities actively looking for any suggestion of corruption or bribery, we're likely to see more whistleblowers come forward and officials investigations follow. Though no one wants to admit it, payments to doctors and hospitals have been commonplace in China for years. The BBC reported this week that bribes are "routinely paid" by big drugmakers in China, citing 5 pharma reps working in China. One of those reps, however, said such payments are "rare," and "only very few people" get money from pharma.

The government previously tolerated the practice--or encouraged it, even, by putting doctors on paltry salaries. Now, officials are targeting foreign drugmakers for it, perhaps to make examples of them, perhaps to twist their arms for lower prices. Probably both.

Comments (9) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business and Markets | The Dark Side


1. Crimso on August 14, 2013 11:02 AM writes...

It's all italics. I think you broke the internet.

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2. Anonymous on August 14, 2013 11:17 AM writes...

Why all Euro companies? GSK, Sanofi, and now Novartis? Any insight? Maybe the European are indeed eviler....

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3. MoMo on August 14, 2013 11:53 AM writes...

Its because all the companies and country involved practice Socialism- some more extreme than others. The only way to get ahead is through corruption.

God Bless America!

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4. MTK on August 14, 2013 12:48 PM writes...

@2 and 3,


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5. DW on August 14, 2013 1:01 PM writes...

In the US the bribes were obivious - paying for speaking engagements, dinners, trips that included spouses etc...

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6. DW on August 14, 2013 1:02 PM writes...

In the US the bribes were obivious - paying for speaking engagements, dinners, trips that included spouses etc...

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7. John Wayne on August 14, 2013 4:38 PM writes...

Your turn in the barrel!

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8. Formerchinahand on August 15, 2013 9:16 AM writes...

A few years ago, I used to work for a Chinese branch of an American top 3 CRO.

During a meeting with several people from the home office, I related how my wife, a former sales rep of a Chinese pharmaceutical, was required by her employers to offer bribes to doctors and everyone else that could influence which drugs would be offered to patients. As was all of her colleagues, and their competitors.

Well, the Chinese people in the room, including my ex-boss, his boss, and the head of the Chinese office, immediately jumped all over me. They disparaged my story, claimed I'd made it up, etc. And, besides, they said, even if it was once true MANY YEARS AGO, it NEVER happens anymore!

Hah! I think someone owes my wife and I an apology!

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9. cliffintokyo on August 18, 2013 7:09 AM writes...

Some pundits think that the authorities have a great strategy. If they just go after the guys paying the bribes and the HC providers accepting them, it just costs the gov money to bring them all to justice. However, if they go after big pharma (like FDA does) they might make megabucks, although I have no idea whether Chinese laws for big business are as punitive (lucrative?) as they are in the US.
Agree with #4, US phama companies in China - stand by.

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