At the end of 2017, the criminal court of Lons-le-Saunier pronounced a conditional sentence of imprisonment on the basis of the anti-gifts law.
To our knowledge, this is the first time that such a sanction is taken on this subject.
In this case, two pharmacists were prosecuted for having notably received gift vouchers from a pharmaceutical laboratory for nearly three years, equally pursued.
The convictions handed down were as follows:
- A one year prison sentence, pronounced with a total suspension, and a fine of 10,000 euros (suspended for a sum of 5,000 euros) for one of the pharmacists. As a reminder, the current text allows a two-year prison sentence. The new provisions amending the anti-gifts law reduce the same sentence to one year.
- A fine of 6,000 euros for the second pharmacist (suspended for an amount of 3,000 euros);
- A fine of 40,000 euros for the pharmaceutical laboratory, without suspension. Unlike the 2017 judgment of the Paris Court of Appeal, also rendered on the basis of the anti-gifts law and for which an appeal is pending, only the legal person was prosecuted and sentenced in this case, the attorney the pharmaceutical laboratory has not been prosecuted.
Is it necessary to deduce the sentences pronounced by the court of Lons-le-Saunier, a hardening of the position of the jurisdictions in the application of the anti-gifts law?
The peculiarity of this case results in the concomitant existence of misappropriation of drugs, to the detriment of the pharmacy which employed pharmacists, falling within the category of breach of trust and infringement of the anti-gift law.
In our opinion, it was the concomitance of the two offenses that led the Lons-le-Saunier court to impose a suspended prison sentence on one of the two pharmacists.
On the other hand, it is clear that controls carried out by the General Directorate for the Suppression of Fraud (DGCCRF) relating to the anti-gifts scheme are very numerous and that this authority seems encouraged to forward any matter to the Public Ministry.
In a context of evolution of the anti-gifts law, manufacturers must therefore be even more vigilant with regard to this case law.
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