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Teva under investigation over illegal rebate offers to Ontario pharmacies

Published on 20/10/17 at 09:38am

Israeli drugmaker Teva has again become embroiled in a scandal investigated by the Ontario government for allegedly bribing pharmacies to stock its opioid medications by offering illegal payments.

Emails have surfaced in which the manufacturer offers to pay 15% rebates to an Ontario-based pharmacy if it agreed to stock its prescription drugs. The products in question include fentanyl and oxycodone, the former of which is 100 times more potent than morphine, and both are considered major factors in the opioid crisis currently raging in the US. The Canadian city has itself faced troubles with opioids, and its pharmacies are known to overwhelmingly stock Teva’s oxycodone compared to competitor versions.

Launching the probe, Onatario’s Health Minister Eric Hoskins said: “Rebates provided by drug manufacturers to pharmacies are illegal. I take any allegations of non-compliance with these rules very seriously and have asked the Ministry to look into these allegations.”

This latest scandal follows recent transgressions by the company in the past, after two Costco pharmacy directors were accused of accepting illegal rebates from Teva and four other pharma companies.

Teva has declined to comment on the allegations thus far, maintaining that it makes every effort to comply with local laws but will cooperate with the inquiry: “We prohibit the offering of product-related rebates to Ontario-based customers and provide ongoing training to all employees to ensure we continue to operate our business in a legal and ethical manner,” a spokesperson commented. “Teva Canada will cooperate fully with any investigation by the Ontario Ministry of Health and remains confident the company is operating in compliance with regulations.”

Matt Fellows

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