LISBON Dec 13 Portuguese police searched health
ministry offices, hospitals and the offices of Swiss company
Octapharma on Tuesday in a corruption investigation linked to
blood plasma supplies and arrested the former chief of the
emergency medical service.
A pharmaceutical products company was suspected of illegally
gaining a monopoly in the human plasma market and a dominant
position in other blood products supplied to the national health
service, the prosecutor general's office said in a statement.
Due to Portuguese privacy laws, it did not name the company
but local television showed investigators working at Octapharma
offices in Lisbon.
No Octapharma officials in Switzerland or in Portugal
replied to Reuters calls for comments.
The Portuguese unit of Octapharma carries a denial on its
website of any unlawful practices or price manipulation of
The prosecutor general's statement said a company
representative and a health service official in charge of plasma
supply tenders were suspected of conspiring illegally to benefit
the company in question between 2000 and 2015.
Police and prosecutors were conducting searches in Lisbon,
Porto, as well as at two locations in Switzerland as part of the
investigation codenamed "Operation O negative", it said.
(Reporting by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Louise Ireland)