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Doctors' group admits widespread corruption

Published: 13 Jan 2013 14:52 GMT+01:00

The German Medical Association has investigated just under 1,000 doctors suspected of corruption over the past few years, head of the association Frank Ulrich Montgomery told Der Spiegel news magazine.

Over half of the investigations concerned doctors accused of accepting bribes from Israeli-owned pharmaceutical Ratiopharm in exchange for prescribing their patients the firm's drugs – something Montgomery said was “clearly prohibited” under professional codes of practice.

“The Medical Association punished 163 Ratiopharm doctors after state prosecutors made the files available to us,” said Montogomery, who called for a change in the law to encourage this kind of cooperation enforcing professional law for doctors.

Montgomery also demanded more investigative powers for the Medical Association itself, so that it could “conduct searches very early on and confiscate files.”

But statutory health insurance companies said on Sunday they would oppose more powers for the professional association and demanded that politicians intervene.

“Corruption is not a minor offence which doctors can regulate amongst themselves” said Florian Lanz, spokesman of the GKV National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds."When the medical association demands police powers it has to be an alarm call for legislators,” he added.

Montgomery's comments confirming the scale of corruption among doctors came after a series of embarrassing revelations about doctors accepting bribes and manipulating waiting lists, which kick-started a debate about whether a new law is needed to reinforce doctors' ethics.

Montgomery said he regretted the damage the recent debate had had on the profession's image. “This ongoing corruption debate is a thorn in our flesh which is massively damaging the reputation of my profession,” he told the magazine.

DAPD/The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

16:21 January 13, 2013 by raandy
I have a friend that is a rep for a pharmaceutical company in the USA and it has always been their practice to give the doc free meds, tickets, small junkets, items , green fees ect , nothing new here.

Manipulating waiting list is not the same as pushing a pharmaceutical companies meds,however, and should be taken very seriously.
19:21 January 13, 2013 by pepsionice
If someone came up and just offered a seven-day all-expenses paid trip to Italy once a year....I'd probably do the same thing. If you look at the salary structure that was tossed onto doctors....there's not much of an incentive NOT to do something like this.
20:55 January 13, 2013 by coffmap8
I am a pay patient at a dental implant group in Munich. They have really screwed up my mouth and the charges make no sense. Their product broke and I am paying? The technician screwed up the mold and I am paying. They do not fit right. I am paying. One side he had to grind down to bricksbecause it was too high. and the other side is like the fijords so deep my cheek gets caught in the sharp edges. I have to pay this bill or what other recourse do I have?. This has been and awful experience and they want me to pay over 10,000 euros!
04:54 January 14, 2013 by munir akhtar
this practice is now worldover. From simple medical practitioners to renouned sugeons all are involved volentarily or otherwise. It needs ammendments in local laws and international law to put down this practice and lavy heavy pannelties on doctors as well as pharmaceuticals / supplies / marketing agencies. This practice is not only putiing burden on individuals but also to governments for importing specific drugs and paying subsidies from taxpayer's
09:46 January 14, 2013 by gkh50
@coffmap8. The industry does not want people to know, there is a high failure rate for dental implants. The implant companies, actually give the dentists a high & of free implants and drill bits (drill bits are free).

Take it to your insurance company.
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