Luxury disinfectant wastes in healthcare. Cattaneo accuses politics: "An accomplice of shamans and charlatans"

Pharmaceuticals, causes "artificial price increases, patents, comparisons, false scientific research, bogus prescriptions, unnecessary prescriptions" and "bogus reimbursements

by Chiara Daina Updated: Aug 26, 2014 – Computer Minds

Corruption and waste are a metastasis that threatens Italian healthcare. Twenty-three billion euros is the total amount of public money squandered in 2013 alone to the detriment of the health and pockets of taxpayers.

What happened in the province of Foggia, in the hospitals of Manfredonia, San Severo and Lucera, is therefore no longer incredible. In three years, from 2009 to 2011, 2.5 million euros were spent on 1200 bottles of disinfectant, i.e. 2080 euros each, a disproportionate amount (since the pharmacies inside the hospitals were already stocked with the product) at inflated prices.

In fact, the ASL should have ordered only 90 bottles of Trigene (this is the name of the disinfectant, which is used in the operating room) at 95 euros each, for a total of 8,500 euros. NOT ONLY. The report of the Guardia di Finanza states that the supplier companies bribed public employees with a round of bribes worth at least 14 thousand euros. From bad to worse: to complete the illegal enterprise, counterfeit stamps were used to falsify the certificates of the goods being collected.

The investigation, opened by the Foggia prosecutor's office last February, will bring seven suspects, including state officials and entrepreneurs, before the Court. The manager of the San Severo hospital, Dr. Giuseppe D'Alessandro, reported the scam as soon as he found the invoice for the first load of disinfectant in his hands.

Another scam, fresh off the news, is the one on the Stamina affair. Two days ago, the carabinieri of the Nas of Turin seized all the materials of the Stamina method from the Spedali civici of Brescia. Davide Vannoni, the inventor of the cure, is under investigation together with 12 other people, on charges of conspiracy and fraud.

The preliminary hearing in Turin will open for them on November 4th. The numbers on the phenomenon are jaw-dropping. In the first Ispe-Health white paper (Institute for the Promotion of Ethics in Healthcare), presented last April 15 in Rome, we read that corruption in the strict sense weighed 6.4 billion euros out of the 114 billion public expenditure earmarked for the healthcare sector. To this evil must be added 3.2 billion of inefficiency and 14 billion of waste.

The cases of illegality are concentrated above all in the South (41 per cent), while in the Center they are 30 per cent and in the North 23 per cent. And they concern five specific sectors (according to the report "Corruption and waste in healthcare" edited by Rissc and Transparency International Italy and taken from the White Paper).

First of all, the appointments: "political interference, conflict of interest, revolving doors, spoil system, unquestionability, discretion" and "lack of skills".

Secondly, pharmaceuticals, causing "artificial price increases, patents, comparisons, false scientific research, bogus prescriptions, unnecessary prescriptions" and "bogus reimbursements".

Third: procurement, which means piloted procurement, cartels, lack of controls and false certificates of supplies.

Then there is negligence (such as scrolling waiting lists, diversion to private healthcare, false declarations, omitted payments) and the baggage of illegality in private healthcare, such as lack of competition, zero control of requirements, useless services.

Basically, corruption is out in the open and affects everyone closely. Everyone knows but still too few denounce. Yet corruption in health care triggers an infinite series of side effects that undermine the country's economy and security.

Since "public spending - the report states - grows due to waste, inefficiency and the increase in the cost of supplies and contracts" then "the tax levy grows to compensate for the increase in public spending" but "the compensation of expenditure with new revenues of the taxman is not immediate, the debt grows due to the effect of excessive and growing indebtedness” and so on. As long as cuts are made in public services, consumption falls and unemployment rises.

Cattaneo accuses politics: “An accomplice of shamans and charlatans”

Published Monday 25 August 2014 – The Draft

The scientist and senator for life anticipates her inaugural speech at the "Democratic Metropolitan" festival in Turin to Spiffero. “The institutions should be close to the sick and their families”. And on the Stamina case he applauds Guariniello's initiative

"One cannot be accomplices of the shamans" and, therefore, the prosecutorRaphael Guarinielloby seizing the preparations and blocking the infusions practiced by Stamina in the hospitals of Brescia "he did what had to be done when in the presence of drugs, and I use this word in quotation marks, ineffective and dangerous". Elena Cattaneo, world-renowned researcher, co-founder and director of UniStem, the Stem Cell Research Center of the State University of Milan, coordinator of the European Neurostemcellrepair consortium and senator for life since August last year, has no doubts about the absolute necessity of the measure hired by the Turin magistrate. In an interview with The Draft, the scientist once again points an accusing finger against those she defines as "shamans and charlatans", but she also has an objection to politics "too often shaky and unprepared" in the face of issues on which, instead, "she should ally herself with science and do much more than it has done so far to help families experiencing the drama of diseases on which research works, but has not yet found effective and definitive remedies".


Concepts and reproaches that Cattaneo will also repeat in a place where politics celebrates one of its rituals: the "metropolitan" Democratic Party of Turin which will open with a speech by the researcher awarded the laticlavio by Giorgio Napolitano. But now, when the controversy over Guariniello's decision is still inflaming the debate, precisely in the city where the guru Davide Vannoni he took his steps thanks to the support of numerous political exponents, his own j'accuse they seem like sermons made long ago in the desert, especially of politics, but not only. "It must be said that in the Brescia hospital the treatment of patients with dangerous substances was permitted and this with silent doctors in spite of medical ethics". Dangerous substances for which there is no protocol and above all in which the presence of tissue debris, dead cells, bone cells and no trace of stem cells has been ascertained "as confirmed by AIFA analyzes already in 2012". Right, therefore and above all "it is essential that the judiciary orders the interruption of treatments that medical science does not recognize".


Among other things, for Professor Cattaneo, a crucial point of the story needs to be clarified: «There is no freedom for citizens to treat themselves with the most diverse potions and above all the institutions must not allow charlatans and shamans to take advantage of the of the families of the sick". Yet until today it has not gone like this: magistrates who order the continuation of the infusions, others who block them. A paradoxical situation also the result, according to the researcher, of decisions by institutions and politics that are questionable to say the least. Like the decree of the then Minister of Health Renato Balduzzi which in 2013 allowed the continuation of the treatment for the fourteen patients who had already been infused with stamina preparations: «That decree was a deleterious step. I also told Balduzzi this. The Senate then distorted the text for the worse and the Chamber was unable to avoid the negative consequences, including the start of the work of the first and then second scientific commission". The investigations ordered by the ministry that Cattaneo defines as "insane, just as it is insane to prepare investigations on a preparation in relation to which scientists such as Professor MaximumDominics they expressed themselves clearly, as did the drug agency itself». In fact, Dominici has recently argued again that the infusions of the Stamina method are not able to respect the criteria of stem cells, they are not able to regenerate cells capable of benefiting patients and when it came to stem cells, something else was instilled.


Despite the studies and the opinions of important scientists, «Balduzzi did not take them into account in his decree, opening a dangerous passage for charlatans». In all of this, obviously, the decisions of the Tars and some magistrates should not be forgotten who, also by virtue of those spaces left by the "shaky and unprepared" policy, ordered the infusions at the request of the sick's families. «Here it is to them, to the families who experience indescribable dramas, who must ensure a continuous presence day and night near the sick and are instead left alone, should think about politics and the institutions. Research acts for the future, but in daily life those who have to deal with patients who need continuous assistance today are almost always left alone. This is not acceptable".


He says he still has hope in a change in politics, «a politics that is less linked to parties and that gives more space to people, to ideas, to discussions, that knows how to elevate reasoning and that finally leads to a climate in which science and politics no longer distrust each other". Then, returning for a moment to the judicial proceedings and the decisions of the institutions «which often have not dealt with the problem in the right way», Elena Cattaneo asks a question: «How much money has been spent in this story of shamans and charlatans? How much better could that money have been used to help desperate families who are experiencing a tragedy that not even we, pure contact with the sick, can really fully understand?». (sr)

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