Embattled Sopharma Head Said to Eye Bulgaria's PM OfficeDomestic | February 22, 2012, Wednesday // 14:04| views
Ognyan Donev, an alleged pharmacy monopolist and official media mogul, has now reportedly set his eyes on the prime minister’s office. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency
The boss of pharmaceutical company Sopharma, an alleged monopolist on the Bulgarian market, is aspiring to become one day the country's prime minister, according to local journalists.
"You should be careful what you say [about us] because very soon you will be living in a country, whose prime minister's name is Ognyan Donev," Nikolay Barekov said on Wednesday in his broadcast on TV channel 7, retelling a conversation he had with Donev's partner Lyubomir Pavlov.
Two days earlier Bulgaria's parliamentary health commission said it is about to launch a probe into local pharmaceutical company Sopharma over suspicions of monopoly.
The move came following an investigation by TV 7 channel, which showed that Sopharma sells its medicines to Bulgarian patients and hospitals at higher prices than in Turkey or Serbia.
A package of ampoules for severe allergy, for example, costs about BGN 70 in Bulgaria, while its price in Turkey is just BGN 25. A medicine for high blood pressure is sold at BGN 7 in Serbia, while in Bulgaria the price is three times higher.
The investigation also showed that the pharmaceutical boss, who recently turned into a media mogul too, will lose about half a billion levs if health authorities decide to put their house in order.
"I am very surprised by the big difference in prices," Desislava Atanasova, head of the parliamentary health commission, commented.
Earlier this month it emerged that the European Commission is about to launch an investigation into Bulgaria's pharmaceutical company Sopharma over suspicions of monopoly as unethical as in an African country.
Sopharma, controlled by Ognyan Donev, who until a year ago was a member of the supervisory board of the State Authority National Health Insurance Fund, has managed to supply more than 70% of the medicines required by (state) hospitals and more than 50% of prescribed medicines, according to media reports.
The other key person in the scheme is believed to be the recently fired deputy health minister of Bulgaria, Gergana Pavlova, a former high-ranking employee of Sopharma.
According to a New Europe publication the European Commission is already in Bulgaria, investigating the case 'sur place'.
Ognyan Donev and Lyubomir Pavlov became partners and media moguls in April last year after acquiring WAZ Mediengruppe assets amid accusations of an attempted corporate mini-coup.
The transaction included Trud and 24 Hours daily newspapers, 168 Hours weekly newspaper, Trud weekly, a few magazines, eight regional newspapers, a printing house, distribution company Strela and ZGB's headquarters in downtown Sofia and across the country.
We need your support so Novinite.com can keep delivering news and information about Bulgaria! Thank you!