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Thanks to Novartis, the investigations of President Trump and his minions now have a Big Pharma angle: The drug maker admitted to wiring monthly payments to a company controlled by the president’s lawyer — the same one that paid adult film star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about an extramarital affair with Trump.

But in exchange for what? And who thought this was a good idea?

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  • The CEO alone can’t just write a monthly $100K check. The contract must have been reviewed by Novartis compliance lawyers who would protect the company by ensuring that the arrangement complied with Novartis’ corporate integrity agreement and would prohibit bribes, kickbacks, lobbying, and ensure that Novartis received value for dollar. This is not just a CEO’s handiwork. There must be a certain subtlety in the fine art of drug development, manufacturing and sales that I don’t appreciate. In principle, there is nothing Novartis should be concerned about, right?

  • Fascinating. How many employers do you know who give you a 12 month employment contract and then, months later, conduct the job interview and decide they don’t want your services, but you can keep the money?

  • What did Novartis get? Well, after just FOUR payments of $99,980 – an amount obviously designed to stay below a SOX reporting threshold – Jimenez got a personal meeting with Trump in Geneva. That meeting is a matter of public record. Ask Jimenez what they talked about, if he is not already lawyered up… and ask Novartis for all of Jimenez’ emails for the six weeks thereafter. If they are really being transparent, they will provide. If not, it’s a cover-up.

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