Novartis draws U.S. investigation into sales to Iran


By Michelle Fay Cortez

Novartis AG (NOVN), Europe’s biggest drugmaker by sales, said its Alcon eye-care unit is under U.S. government investigation related to the export of products to Iran and other countries subject to trade sanctions.

Alcon was notified last year that the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Texas is conducting an investigation into its sales, Novartis said in a regulatory filing today. The unit, run from Fort Worth, Texas, received a grand jury subpoena for documents dating back to 2005.

Alcon is cooperating with the investigation, according to the filing. The U.S. government has programs that prohibit or limit products made or held in the U.S. from being sold to certain countries, including Iran, Syria and North Korea.

Novartis, based in Basel, Switzerland, took full control of Alcon in 2010 after an 11 month dispute with minority shareholders. Alcon was based in Huenenberg, Switzerland, with U.S. headquarters in Texas. It generated $2.6 billion in sales during the fourth quarter, Novartis said today.

Daniel Vasella, who oversaw the 1996 merger of Sandoz AG and Ciba-Geigy AG that created Novartis, unexpectedly said today he will leave the board after 17 years. Joerg Reinhardt, currently Bayer AG (BAYN)’s top health-care executive, will replace the 59-year-old Vasella as chairman.


Act of Cowardice

Iran's ruling tyrants have executed yet another political prisoner in flagrant violation of international law.  READ MORE

The rush to Tehran amidst rise in executions

World leaders should halt these visits and link any deal with Iran to its human rights record.  READ MORE

Arming a dictator

What if President Obama ordered the sale of arms to Syrian dictator to massacre his opponents? READ MORE

Slaughter intensifies under Rouhani

231 executions have occurred since the presidential election in June which brought to power Hassan Rouhani. READ MORE

Silence is not the answer

Iran: Bloody crackdown targeting dissidents aims at terrorizing the people into submission. READ MORE

Iran’s Murder Machine

The wheels of Iran's Murder Machine turn in tandem with its nuclear machine. READ MORE

What now?

The West must drop the dangerous pretence that talking to a regime not interested in listening constitutes the winning strategy. READ MORE

A facelift

This cosmetic facelift should not dupe the West into thinking that there are fresh prospects for a nuclear deal. READ MORE

An Act of Cowardice

The terrorist attack against Iranian exiles at Camp Liberty, Iraq, is another sign of Iranian regime's weakness. READ MORE

Much atalk about nothing

In Istanbul they merely agreed to talk about talking later in May in Baghdad, of all places. READ MORE

An unholy alliance

The brutal state-imposed bloodbath in Syria deserves uncompromising reproach. READ MORE

Iran cries for freedom

The clerical regime in Iran has predictably unleashed another wave of terror against the citizenry since the outburst of the latest string of mass protests beginning on 14 February. READ MORE

A new Iran policy

The latest round of nuclear talks had an all-too-familiar result: more time for Tehran and less time for the international community to prevent a nuclear-armed theocracy. READ MORE

Murder overlooked

What would the rest of us do if a mad gunman was in our midst, systematically murdering our fellow human beings in front of our eyes? The responsible amongst us would not look the other way, because that would serve as a source of encouragement for the murderers to carry on with their heinous acts unchecked. READ MORE

Standing up to Iran's executioners

The Iranian regime's malicious noose has yet again taken an innocent life. Political prisoner Ali Saremi, 63, was hanged in Tehran's infamous Evin prison after a lifetime of peacefully espousing human rights and democracy. READ MORE