Novartis CEO on Michael Cohen deal: 'We made a mistake'

Novartis CEO Vasant Narasimhan sent a memo to employees March 10 expressing regret for his company's decision to enter into a lobbying contract with President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen, according to CNBC.

Novartis was contacted by Mr. Cohen in February 2017 through his recently-formed lobbying firm Essentials Consultants. He offered them access to President Trump and the parties agreed to a yearlong contract for $100,000 per month. Novartis officials soon determined Mr. Cohen would not be able to deliver on his promises, though they were unable to end the contract. The contract was signed before Mr. Narasimhan became CEO in September 2017.

In the wake of a criminal investigation against Mr. Cohen, Novartis has received public criticism for their relationship with the lawyer. "Yesterday was not a good day for Novartis," Mr. Narasimhan wrote.

"We made a mistake in entering into this engagement and, as a consequence, are being criticized by a world that expects more from us," Mr. Narasimhan wrote. "This moment will pass and we will learn. Our medicines however will endure for generations … Please focus on that noble purpose in this difficult moment — bending the curve of life."

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