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Portuguese police search ministry, hospitals, Octopharma in graft investigation
December 13, 2016 / 5:14 PM / 10 months ago

Portuguese police search ministry, hospitals, Octopharma in graft investigation

LISBON, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Portuguese police searched health ministry offices, hospitals and the offices of Swiss company Octapharma on Tuesday in a corruption investigation linked to blood plasma supplies and arrested the former chief of the emergency medical service.

A pharmaceutical products company was suspected of illegally gaining a monopoly in the human plasma market and a dominant position in other blood products supplied to the national health service, the prosecutor general’s office said in a statement.

Due to Portuguese privacy laws, it did not name the company but local television showed investigators working at Octapharma offices in Lisbon.

No Octapharma officials in Switzerland or in Portugal replied to Reuters calls for comments.

The Portuguese unit of Octapharma carries a denial on its website of any unlawful practices or price manipulation of plasma products.

The prosecutor general’s statement said a company representative and a health service official in charge of plasma supply tenders were suspected of conspiring illegally to benefit the company in question between 2000 and 2015.

Police and prosecutors were conducting searches in Lisbon, Porto, as well as at two locations in Switzerland as part of the investigation codenamed “Operation O negative”, it said. (Reporting by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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