Johnson & Johnson, Philips' healthcare operations, accused of operating illegal cartel

Subsidiaries of multinational companies Johnson & Johnson and Philips in Brazil have been accused of operating a cartel to manipulate the prices of healthcare equipment in the country. The cartel, prosecutors allege, operated for nearly 20 years, from 1996 until 2017.

The head of General Electric in Brazil has also been detained.

The cartel has been nicknamed the “international auctions club”, and is alleged to contain at least 33 organizations lead by Brazilian medical instrument distributors Oscar Iskin & Cia Ltda. (AFP)

“Top executives from multinational medical equipment manufacturers arranged among themselves who would win contracts by paying a 13 percent commission on those contracts to Iskin,” alleged the Rio de Janeiro prosecutor’s office statement. (AFP)

On July 5, police executed arrest warrants for the current CEO of General Electric Latin America, Daurio Speranzini Jr., and 22 other suspects. Speranzini’s arrest related to his time employed at Philips Medical Systems, prior to taking the position at GE; prosecutors have not stated that General Electric is a target of the anti-corruption probe.

However, the Brazilian headquarters of Johnson & Johnson and Philips along with 42 other sites were raided as part of the investigation, according to police. (Wall Street Journal)

Johnson & Johnson, and Koninklijke Philips N.V. have both released statements stating they are cooperating fully with authorities. (Reuters)

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