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Ex Health Minister says he was offered kickbacks by pharma for vaccines

Former New Democracy Health Minister, Giorgos Sourlas, said he was offered kickbacks by a pharmaceutical company in order to market vaccines. Speaking to state ERT TV, the former minister said he was offered 500 million Drachmas* in order to market last generation vaccines for hepatitis.

“It happened once, I was proposed to integrate last generation vaccines for hepatitis B, with indirect encouragement to receive 500 million,” Sourlas said.

500 million Drachmas would be equivalent to 1.4 million euro.

He added, the offer was made by a pharmaceutical company employee who told him he would appear to be doing “social work” and display “social sensitivity” in front of the citizens.


Sourlas refused to do so, considering that this vaccine was not necessary.

Sourlas was Health Minister 1990-1992.

He did not revealed the name of the pharma company, however, he implied it was not Swiss drug-maker Novartis currently in the middle of investigation by Greek and US authorities.

The former minister  talked about the corruption phenomena that have plagued the Greek society for years and named areas such as the fuel smuggling, loss of state revenues from drinks, cigarettes and tobacco, as well as the sector of medicines.

When he was general secretary for  Transparency and Human Rights (2012-2014) he had denounced that in the period 2012-2013, radiopacity drugs bought for €660 were imported to Greece and were made available for €3,300.

“There is lack of adequate political will to combat such phenomena,” Sourlas said adding  “there is no corruption where there is political will.”

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