Thirteen military medical officers from an armed forces hospital in Kaohsiung City were handed sentences ranging from 1 year, 9 months to 7 years, 8 months for taking bribes from pharmaceutical company representatives in return for prescribing specific drugs to patients, according to reports today, July 6.
The Kaohsiung District Court found that pharmaceutical companies provided bribes ranging from NT$170,000 to nearly NT$1 million to doctors and hospital administrators of the Gangshan Armed Forces Hospital in return for prescribing their products.
The offences date back to 2014. At the center of allegations was the director of the Clinical Pharmacy Department, named Du, who allowed ten pharmaceutical company drug dealers to use his authority to access the Hospital Information System (HIS) to analyze the medicine prescription habits of individual physicians, then request they increase the amount of specific drugs in return for “rebates.”
Cooperating physicians were provided kickbacks ranging from NT$170,000 to more than NT$990,000.
The investigation found that Du printed the cooperating doctors’ medical prescription details on paper, saved them to a flash drive, or emailed them directly to the pharmaceutical drug pushers.
The pharmaceutical company drug traffickers then put money in a white envelope and delivered them directly to Dr Du at his office, or placed them in a drawer.
After listening to depositions and analyzing computer and other data, the Kaohsiung District Court found that 13 medical officers had accepted bribes and sentenced them according to anti-corruption laws. However, officers who are willing to return the proceeds of their crimes will receive four to five years probation, according to reports.
The case remains appealable.
No legal action against the pharmaceutical companies or their representatives have been reported.
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