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Suspected fraud: Proceedings against 600 gynecologists

Suspected fraud: Proceedings against 600 gynecologists

Germany is being investigated against more than 600 gynecologists for suspected fraud. The gynecologists are said to have provided their patients with contraceptive injections not approved in this country on a large scale and thereby implemented millions.

Already in July there were reports of raids on several gynecologists who allegedly sold their patients contraceptive injections with the active ingredient "Depocon". According to the Customs Criminal Police Office (ZKA), prosecutors are now investigating the news magazine "FOCUS" against 611 gynecologists across Germany. The gynecologists are accused of violating the drug law. They have enriched themselves in the illegal trade in contraceptives that are not approved in this country. In addition, the product should only have been given through pharmacies if it had been approved in Germany. According to the investigative authorities, gynecologists have behaved illegally in several ways.

Contraceptive syringes are a profitable business for gynecologists The “Depocon” contraceptive syringes are approved as medicinal products in Austria and gynecologists could easily order them from Sigma over the Internet. For example, surgeries and medical associations ordered the contraceptive injections online, which were then delivered to Germany via parcel carriers and administered to the patients here. Apparently a profitable business for the gynecologists. The spokesman for the Customs Criminal Police Office told “FOCUS” that the gynecologists “made at least six million euros with their mesh” - “The trend is increasing.” The preparation, which was obtained in Austria, is cheaper than a comparable contraceptive in Germany, said the ZKA spokesman further. The senior public prosecutor's office in Wuppertal had already announced after the first practical searches in the summer that the total order value would probably be several million euros.

Gynecologists face fines and imprisonment If patients receive the drug from the Austrian manufacturer, this is legally not a problem. The administration of the independently acquired medication by a German gynecologist would also be legally correct in the opinion of the senior public prosecutor. However, the accused gynecologists had purchased the contraceptive themselves and then injected them into the patient. In doing so, they acted contrary to the legal requirements of the Medicines Act, which can be sanctioned with fines or a prison sentence of up to one year. The public prosecutor's office, with the support of the customs investigators, collected the first evidence of the violations of the gynecologists back in July. Sixteen medical practices in North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Lower Saxony were searched. This apparently resulted in numerous other investigative approaches, so that more than 600 gynecologists are now accused of violating the drug law.

No increased health risk for patients However, the illegal administration of contraceptive injections did not result in a health risk for the patients concerned. Prosecutor Wolf-Tilman Baumert from the Wuppertal public prosecutor's office said in July that "there is no evidence that the women affected will suffer any health effects in any way." The three-month injection with the active ingredient "Depocon" can have side effects , but these can also be expected with other comparable preparations approved in Germany. For example, the contraceptive syringe with the high-dose progestin it contains often causes irregular or unusually heavy bleeding. However, the patients only need to have an appropriate syringe given once every three months, while the contraceptive pill is to be taken daily. The hormone-containing injection is usually given to the patient by her gynecologist in the first fifth day of her cycle. (fp)

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