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Medicines for dead patients: a million euro scam discovered in Bologna

Bologna, 2 October 2009. The carabinieri of the Nas they uncovered a massive scam in the pharmaceutical sector, and carried out six arrest warrants against operators in the pharmaceutical sector.

With complicity of a dense network of compliant or corrupt hospital doctors and pharmacy owners, collected reimbursements from the NHS thanks to fake prescriptions for expensive medicines to patients who knew nothing about them, or were non-existent or even dead.

The organization it operated in various provinces of Emilia Romagna, Bologna, Ravenna, Rimini and Ferrara, and also had branches in the regions of Central Italy. According to the carabinieri, the extent of the scam is quantified at over one million euros. The investigation led to the denunciation of another 43 people and the seizure of large quantities of drugs.

Pharmacies have been involved of Bologna and the province of Ravenna, as well as doctors and health workers from various hospitals in the provinces of Bologna, Rimini, Ravenna and Ferrara

 The precautionary measures they were carried out against 6 people including a Pharmaceutical Representative, an area manager and a director of the immuno-oncological business unit of the pharmaceutical company involved and some pharmacy owners and employees. All suspects will have to answer for the crime of conspiracy and fraud against the state. Some of the people and for various reasons have also been charged with the crimes of corruption, false ideology and comparison.

In the investigation 43 people are being investigated on the loose, including 38 university and hospital doctors from various provinces of Emilia Romagna and active in the sector linked to tumor diseases (oncologists, radiotherapists, haematologists). Twenty-five of the doctors under investigation were employees of the S.Orsola hospital in Bologna. Also involved are two doctors from the Maggiore hospital in Bologna, eight from the Rimini nursing hospital, two from the Bologna ASL, one from the Bentivoglio hospital and one from the S.Anna hospital in Ferrara. Due to their compliance, some white coats (about five), according to an initial evidentiary finding, were bribed by giving away objects such as cameras, hi-fi systems, televisions - goods worth over 25 thousand euros were seized from their homes - and ensuring reimbursement of expenses for travel and conferences, so much so that the pharmaceutical company involved (according to what was discovered by the carabinieri) had opened a current account in some technological product shops and at a travel agency in Foligno.

The cost scam to the National Health Service a sum of 1 million and 200 thousand euros (in two and a half years) had been devised down to the smallest detail and brought profit to all those involved: the drugs, mostly anticancer and antifungals (longastatine with a price of 1395 euros per package; Myelostim, 130 euros and Triasporin, 85 euros) were produced by a pharmaceutical company in Milan. Company that then sold the medicines to the pharmacy owners who obtained reimbursements from the State thanks to the false prescriptions prescribed by doctors (some bribed with gifts of various kinds) contacted by the scientific informant who, in turn, secured productivity bonuses .

 DrugsHowever, they never reached the unsuspecting and sometimes even deceased patients. The names of the patients coincided with those of people who had been treated in the structures where the doctors signing the ghost prescriptions operated or came from lists of incapacitated patients to whom home care had been assigned. The trick was to d

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Fedaiisf Federazione delle Associazioni Italiane degli Informatori Scientifici del Farmaco e del Parafarmaco