By Angelos Anastasiou
EDEK leader Marinos Sizopoulos sought to go on the offensive on Friday with regard to allegations that he illegally imported vials of Botox and Dysport for use in his dermatology private practice, calling on authorities to explain how they were leaked before even he was informed of the claims against him.
The allegations were made to the police by a medical sales representative, who said she had travelled to Greece on Sizopoulos’ behalf and brought back in her luggage quantities of the two drugs – of which Botox is not licensed in Cyprus.
On Thursday, Sizopoulos initially issued flat denials, but as the day wore on he came to admit that he had imported the drugs – not for resale, which requires a permit he doesn’t have, but solely for use in his practice.
The admission prompted daily Politis, which ran the story on Thursday, to claim in its Friday headline that Sizopoulos “dug his own grave” by arguing that “no one can stop you from importing a product freely available in the EU market”.
The paper rejected the argument, saying that importing medicines into Cyprus requires a licence by the government’s Pharmaceutical Council, which must first establish that the importer has appropriate storage facilities.
In a statement on Friday, Sizopoulos opted to ignore Politis’ new story, instead focusing on peripheral issues, and insisted on promoting his suspicions of a political attack being behind the report.
“In this case, for which I have yet to be officially informed of the allegations against me, serious questions are raised which demand an immediate response by the authorities,” he said.
“Firstly, why was the story selectively leaked in such a short time, and before I was even informed? Secondly, to what extent was the medical sales representative’s credibility evaluated before a decision was made to launch a criminal investigation against me, given that in the last few years she has repeatedly been investigated by police for similar incidents?”
Sizopoulos was referring to reports of the woman’s prior run-ins with doctors, who claim that she defrauded them out of tens of thousands of euros by promising she would offer them the same service she alleged to have offered the EDEK leader but never delivering.
“Thirdly, why was it never investigated whether this person is really a medical sales representative, which company she worked for, and whether she is licensed to import and sell medicines in Cyprus?”
All of this cannot be a coincidence, Sizopoulos concluded in his statement.
“There are expediencies,” he declared.
“The authorities must provide answers to these questions as soon as possible, and in public, otherwise they will be accountable for the scheme for my slandering and the effort to hurt the credibility of a historic party.”