Novartis Paid More than $1 Million to Firm Linked to Trump Lawyer

The drug company had an agreement with Essential Consultants, run by the president’s former attorney Michael Cohen.

By Ashley Yeager | May 9, 2018

ISTOCK/HOHLNovartis reportedly paid Essential Consultants, a company run by President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, $1.2 million, but has since ended a contract with the firm, according to Reuters.

The drug company entered into the agreement with Essential Consultants in February 2017 because it “believed that Michael Cohen could advise the company as to how the Trump administration might approach certain U.S. healthcare policy matters, including the Affordable Care Act,” Novartis spokeswoman Sofina Mirza-Reid tells The Washington Post.

Michael Avenatti, a lawyer for a porn star who received $130,000 from Essential Consultants as hush money after having an alleged affair with Trump before he became president, recently revealed the connection between Cohen’s company and Novartis’s payments. Documents linked to by STAT show that a unit of the drug firm called Novartis Investment SARL made about four payments of nearly $100,000 each to Essential Consultants on October 5, 2017, November 3, 2017, December 1, 2017, and January 5, 2018, totaling nearly $400,000. Reuters, however, reports that payments were made monthly from February 2017 to February 2018, bringing the total closer to $1 million. There were also fees for meetings.

Novartis allegedly realized in the spring of 2017 that Cohen could not provide the information the company requested, but did not attempt to cancel the contract for fear of “ticking off the president,” according to a second article in STAT. Novartis continued paying Essential Consultants until their contract expired in February 2018, CNBC reports.

According to The Post, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, sought information last November about the connection between Novartis and Essential Consultants. In a statement the company says it “cooperated fully with the Special Counsel’s office and provided all the information requested,” according to Newsweek. “Novartis considers this matter closed as to itself and is not aware of any outstanding questions regarding the agreement.”

Novartis spokesman Michael Willi tells Reuters, “in hindsight,” the pact “must be seen as a mistake.”

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Comments

Avatar of: PastToTheFuture

PastToTheFuture

Posts: 117

May 10, 2018

Corruption - destroying nations on the cheap for millinea...

Avatar of: MMicro

MMicro

Posts: 4

May 10, 2018

This is a non-news story. Companies often hire outside counsel to assess new and proposed policy decisions that have an impact on their business. It may be that Cohen has/had some connections to the Administration but that would only increase his effectiveness. To imply that something illegal is going on is without foundation.  Also why bother to mention the other lawyer and the Daniels matter which is also a non-news item.

Avatar of: dmarciani

dmarciani

Posts: 68

May 10, 2018

It is evident that the name Trump evokes in the writers of The Scientist a Pavlovian reaction that is borderline insane. FYI, pharmaceutical companies pay millions of dollars to people called lobbyists, which use their connections to get favors or special treatment from the government for their clients. Yet, organizations like the unions, etc. uses the same contacts to get that special treatment. Indeed, many of the largest lobbyist firms are made of former people from Congress, many “liberals,” like The Scientist writers. Perhaps, The Scientist writers should focus more on scientific articles, leaving the politics to the hundreds of dubious news organizations. And please, leave the hype out of those articles and focus on the facts instead. If we believe many of the articles from popular science magazines, we could deduct of course wrongly, that we have so many successful treatments for almost every disease that we do not know which one to choose.

Avatar of: xFisherman

xFisherman

Posts: 2

May 10, 2018

I agree wholeheartedly with the statement made by dmarciani below: "Perhaps, The Scientist writers should focus more on scientific articles, leaving the politics to the hundreds of dubious news organizations." Most of us come to this site to learn and/or enjoy the great scientific articles found here. Trying to disparage anyone is not a scientific endeavor.

Avatar of: xFisherman

xFisherman

Posts: 2

May 10, 2018

I agree wholeheartedly with this statement made by dmarciani: "Perhaps, The Scientist writers should focus more on scientific articles, leaving the politics to the hundreds of dubious news organizations." Most of us come to this site to learn and/or enjoy the great scientific articles found here. Trying to disparage anyone is not a scientific endeavor.

Avatar of: John Saba

John Saba

Posts: 23

May 10, 2018

Can you say "bribe?"

Avatar of: Biologist16

Biologist16

Posts: 3

May 13, 2018

Corruption is like cancer with no cure.

Personally, I am thankful to the writers of Scientist and fully support their efffort to expose all type of scientific misconduct. 

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