Swedes Launch Nobel Prize Bribery Probe

Drug firm accused of influencing this year's pick in medicine
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2008 8:10 AM CST

(Newser) – Swedish prosecutors are investigating claims of corruption in the awarding of this year's Nobel Prize in medicine, the Toronto Star reports. German scientist Harald zur Hausen won part of the prize for discovering the link between human papilloma viruses and cervical cancer. The discovery could make a fortune for drug firm AstraZeneca, and the European press claims the company influenced zur Hausen’s win.

AstraZenaca, which holds a patent on ingredients used in HPV vaccines, sponsors two Nobel promotional companies and has close ties to two Swedish academics on Nobel committees. The company denies any wrongdoing. Swedish anti-corruption officials say the claim—believed to be the first charge of financial corruption against the Nobels—will take months to properly investigate.