Historical Archive

Genoa. Doctors and pharmacies at dangerous crossroads


The prosecutor's lights are turned on on the at least "questionable" relationships between family doctors and pharmacists. Between those who would make available (sometimes free of charge) the apartments intended for outpatient clinics and those who, on the other hand, would reciprocate with over-prescriptions of medicines.

So much so that the deputy prosecutor Francesco Pinto has opened a file, and among the various hypotheses of crime, in addition to fraud against the National Health Service, he would also take into consideration corruption: a pharmacist (as a public service officer because manages the pharmaceutical service on behalf of the State) would have "incentivised" some doctors (public officials) to move and concentrate in the premises above his pharmacy. The investigators would be carrying out investigations on any benefits - money or other assets - completely unjustified if not from an illicit relationship.

The investigation could reserve some other surprises, above all from the checks on the current accounts of one and the other. Besides, do the doctors pay the rent? Or do they pay him at bargain prices?

It is true that the presence of a mutualist practice in the same building as the pharmacy, a now widespread practice, has nothing illegal and can only be the subject of "deontological" discussions. Without forgetting the comfort represented for the patient. But the investigation by the Public Prosecutor's Office could raise the lid on this submerged universe, "talked about" above all in the relations between the two categories. We could go from simple suspicions to real business between family doctors, pharmacy owners and again with the medicine industries.

The Nas, led by Captain Gian Mario Carta, are carrying out careful investigations into the matter. The carabinieri moved after the complaint presented by the president of the Order of Pharmacists of Genoa two years ago: "I followed up on a complaint received from a fellow pharmacist of San Fruttuoso - confirms Felice Ribaldone. As a professional order we cannot do other, even if we could provide a significant contribution; in some cases, as a person informed about the facts, I have proposed the investigative action of the judiciary".

In the case under examination by the prosecutor, the president of the Order points out that the San Fruttuoso pharmacist has put pen to paper the movement of some medical offices from one place to another, in the same area and within weeks. "The colleague believed that there was collusion between the doctors and the pharmacist – underlines Ribaldone – in fact, following the transfers he had suffered a significant drop in prescriptions in his exercise, while the other's turnover had increased at the same rate".

The investigation by the Public Prosecutor's Office and the Nas is accompanied by an internal investigation by the ASL Tre. So much so that the Affiliated Pharmaceutical Assistance Service has ascertained the increase in turnover in some pharmacies, coinciding with some moves and significant fluctuations

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