05/04/2006

Charges follow investigation into NHS fraud allegations

Nine people and five companies have been charged following a Serious Fraud Office investigation into conspiracy to defraud the NHS.

The criminal charges relate to alleged price fixing and market sharing by suppliers of generic drugs, especially warfarin and penicillin-based antibiotics such as amoxicillin and ampicillin.

The Serious Fraud Office said that the alleged offences were committed between January 1996 and December 2000.

The nine people being charged are: Denis William O'Neill and John Stephen Clark of Kent Pharmaceuticals Limited; Jonathan Raymond Close and Nicholas Mark Foster, formerly of Norton Healthcare Limited; Luma Auchi, formerly of Regent-GM Laboratories Limited; Michael John Frederick Sparrow, formerly of Generics (UK) Limited; Anil Kumar Sharma, formerly of Ranbaxy (UK) Limited; and Ajit Ramanlal Patel and Kirti Vinubhai Patel of Goldshield Group Plc.

Summonses have also been served on five of the companies, with the exception of Regent-GM Laboratories, which has gone into liquidation.

The people are due to attend Bow Street Magistrates Court on April 27 and the companies will also be required to be represented.

The Case Controller, Assistant Director Philip Lewis, said: "This important case involving an allegation of dishonest price fixing by companies is likely to have a significant impact upon the business culture of this country."

(KMcA)

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