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South Korea to fine Novartis over unfair drug promotions

Novartis AG's South Korean unit is facing another fine for alleged unfair drug promotion practices in the country, Reuters reported.

Earlier this year, South Korea's Ministry of Health and Welfare imposed a 55.1 billion won fine on Novartis Korea Ltd. for paying doctors kickbacks.

South Korea's Fair Trade Commission is now planning to fine the company 500 million South Korean won for funding overseas trips by medical practitioners to attend academic conferences from 2011 to 2016.

Novartis Korea reportedly spent 7.6 billion won to fund the trips, choosing recipients based on their prescription of the company's drugs.

Novartis' own investigation in the matter also found that "some overseas congress trips were funded in a way that did not fully comply with industry self-regulation standards."

The company said it had stopped such funding practices, Reuters reported.

As of June 7, US$1 was equivalent to 1,123.14 South Korean won.