ND’s president and vice-president must reply over alleged Novartis ‘gift’, PM’s press office says

Main opposition New Democracy President Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the party’s Vice-President Adonis Georgiadis must give reply to the serious allegations in the press regarding the former health minister’s links to big pharma and especially to Novartis, the prime minister’s press office said on Sunday.

The accusations that Georgiadis had signed off on measures that essentially handed 65 million euros to the pharmaceutical industry and especially Novartis, at the expense of tax-payers and the state, just one day before his departure from the health ministry “are something more than serious,” the PM’s press office said. At the same time, it added, Georgiadis and Makis Voridis had slashed spending on health, with incalculable repercussions on Greek citizens.

“We hope that both Mr. Georgiadis and Mr. Mitsotakis, who made him ND’s vice-president, understand the seriousness of these accusations,” the press office announcement said, noting that “the Greek people expect answers.”

“After Siemens, the shady loans to the ‘Chania Herald (Kyrikas Chanion), the disappearance of the Mitsotakis’ family wealth statements and the houses in Paris and the business activities with Stavros Papastavrou, the baton is taken up by Novartis and ND’s Vice-President Adonis Georgiadis,” the press release notes.

It was clearly no accident that Mitsotakis sped to use Georgiadis as vice-president, it added.
It urged Mitsotakis and Georgiadis to explain why the pricing of high-cost medicines changed so as to only abolish a 13 pct discount and why Georgiadis “rushed” to do this just one day before he left the ministry ahead of reshuffle. It further asked Georgiadis to explain why he demanded that the then prime minister Antonis Samaras replace him with Voridis for pharmaceuticals and to confirm whether the biggest beneficiary of his actions was Novartis, which was currently under investigation for bribing doctors and state officials.

The PM’s press office was responding to a front-page report in the newspaper “Documento” claiming that Georgiadis had passed measures just prior to leaving that amounted to a 65-million-euro ‘gift’ to pharmaceutical companies and especially Novartis.