Prosecutors are investigating cancer doctors, pharmacies and pharmaceutical manufacturers nationwide
The prosecutor's office is investigating numerous specialists in cancer and pharmaceutical manufacturers on suspicion of bribery and corruption. Investigation proceedings are currently being carried out throughout Germany. Oncologists are accused of receiving fees for prescribing certain cancer drugs. In Erfurt alone, doctors are said to have received hundreds of thousands. A doctor is said to have received up to half a million euros through this type of “additional income opportunity”.
Patients with cancer go into the hands of specialists to get the best possible therapy. Apparently, the focus for some doctors was not only on the benefits, but also on the fees paid to pharmaceutical companies when prescribing medicines. According to confirmed information, several public prosecutors are currently investigating doctors on suspicion of bribery. In addition to the cancer doctors, at least three smaller pharmaceutical manufacturers are also covered by the investigation, according to reports by the news magazine "Der Spiegel". According to the magazine, the drug manufacturers are said to have "systematically bribed" doctors. Some doctors have received over one hundred thousand euros.
Specifically, it is about the allegation that the companies would have paid outpatient doctors with cash admission if they had "preferred" to prescribe their preparations for the cancer therapy of a patient. Investigation proceedings have already been initiated against dozens of cancer doctors and some pharmacies.
Meanwhile, the Erfurt public prosecutor announced that they had already brought charges against at least one doctor and two pharmacists from Thuringia. Hannes Grünseisen, spokesman for the Erfurt public prosecutor's office, told the dpa news agency on Friday that the suspect was said to have received sums of money and benefits of several hundred thousand euros from the two pharmacists when he received medication from the pharmacies. The specialist is said to have received money for it when he ordered cancer drugs of the cytostatics class from these pharmacists. According to the current status of the investigation, the agreements between the doctor and the two pharmacists should not have been made at the same time, but at different times. "But there was the same procedure," said the spokesman. The charges against the three suspects were not just filed now, but some time ago. The accusation: "bribery and bribery". Accordingly, the indictment was transferred to the district court in Mühlhausen. A day of negotiations has not yet been scheduled.
In addition, the Dresden public prosecutor wants to file charges against employees of the pharmaceutical company "Oncosachs" who are primarily responsible. According to the public prosecutor, the pharmaceutical manufacturer from Leipzig is said to have paid several hundred euros per patient if the doctor preferred to prescribe the company's funds. In early 2011, the business premises or eleven properties were searched by the anti-corruption unit "Ines". At least 60 boxes of files and several gigabytes of data were saved, as the General Prosecutor's Office reported at the time. At that time, the company fought back with the argument that a competitor wanted to harm the company.
A spokesman for the Attorney General of Dresden, Wolfgang Klein, told the magazine that in numerous federal states, 47 oncologists were being investigated in this context on the basis of “suspicion of corruption”. The doctors are accused of having received so-called "rent subsidies" from "Oncosachs" by 2008. Some time later, funds are said to have flowed into "bogus studies". A suspect is said to have even collected more than 500,000 euros between 2005 and 2011.
According to the magazine, the investigative authorities are investigating doctors and drug manufacturers not only in the new federal states. The Munich public prosecutor is currently investigating the managing director of the pharmaceutical company Ribosepharm. The authorities also assume bribery and bribery. This is explicitly about the "Hikma" division for cancer drugs. The AOK Lower Saxony health insurance company confirmed to the press that it had written specific notices to the Munich public prosecutor's office in order to support the investigation.
In the Hanseatic city of Hamburg, the public prosecutor's office is investigating those responsible for the drug manufacturer "Zyo Pharma". Here too there is suspicion of bribery.
It is currently not known whether patients have suffered any health damage. Rather, it is a matter of giving preference to drugs with the same active ingredient from a particular manufacturer and receiving benefits and financial means. Those sentenced may face fines and imprisonment. (sb)
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Picture: Dr. Klaus-Uwe Gerhardt / pixelio.de