Press Release, February 14, 2011
Coalition against Bayer Dangers (Germany)
Feb 15: Hundred years Bayer Portugal
Pharma Corruption: “BayerGate” still not investigated
Tomorrow the German company Bayer will commemorate the 100th anniversary of its presence in Portugal with a reception at the Tivoli, a five star hotel in Lisbon. On this occasion the Coalition against Bayer Dangers, which has been monitoring the company for more than 30 years, is reminding the world that Bayer´s involvement into pharma corruption practices in Portugal has never been properly investigated.
Philipp Mimkes, from the Coalition´s board says: “Portuguese patients were harmed and public money was wasted. The anniversary of Bayer´s presence in Portugal should be the occasion to finally expose these corruption cases. Portuguese authorities must dare to take on powerful companies such as Bayer”.
In 1997 former Bayer employee Alfredo Pequito informed the public that pharmaceutical companies in Portugal bribed thousands of doctors to prescribe their products. Pequito collected the names of nearly 2,500 Portuguese doctors who were bribed with luxurious gifts. Bayer also conducted unethical medical tests in Portugal, which caused the death of some test persons.
Pequito reports that Bayer representatives used large amounts of money for gifts, including cash and travel vouchers: “As soon as I started my work for Bayer I was informed that a high amount of money was at my disposal that was supposed to support and help doctors in their activities. This amount would be available whenever requested. The Portuguese General Health Inspection department verified later on, that for example in 1997 Bayer Portugal spent between 5-10% of their profits on this type of activity”.
In 2000 Pequito narrowly escaped two attempts on his life, shortly before he was due to testify against his former employer. In April 2008, Pequito was invited by the Coalition against Bayer Dangers to speak on the issue at Bayer´s shareholder meeting in front of the management and more than 4,000 shareholders.
In 2006 the newspaper Expresso reported that eight volunteers died in a study conducted by Bayer for the treatment of cardiac insufficiencies. The trials were suspended and the drug was never put on the market. Bayer has never been charged for bribing doctors nor for conducting unethical medical tests. However, in 2005, Portuguese antitrust regulators fined five major drug companies, among them Bayer and Johnson & Johnson, a total of 16 million Euros for working together to artificially fix prices.
Bayer was defended by a very well known Lisbon law firm – Jardim, Sampaio, Caldas e Associados – who were, at that time, Minister of Justice, President of the Republic and Minister of Defence. The 25th anniversary celebrating the 1974 Carnation Revolution was the pretext to announce a general amnesty, including corruption crimes. The amnesty was granted to Bayer by the President of the Republic J. Sampaio and the Minister of Justice, V. Jardim - both members of the law firm which defended Bayer´s interests.
Contact Alfredo Pequito: pequito.alfredo(at)gmail.com
for more information:
=> Alfredo Pequito´s speech in Bayer shareholder meeting] and a photo of Pequito in the meeting
=> Portugal regulator fines Abbott, Bayer, others for price fixing
=> Portuguese paper Expresso on the deadly tests with Bayer´s medication Escadotril
=> An interview with Alfredo Pequito
=> An article in The Guardian on the attempts on Pequito´s life