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Ricettopoli, twenty indicted among doctors and pharmacists

ROMAGNA – After years of extorting money from the National Health Service, now Italfarmaco, the pharmaceutical company called "Ricettopoli" that ended up at the center of the investigation is returning the stolen goods. The company exited the proceeding by negotiating a 20,000 euro fine and paying 301,000 euro as compensation to the civil parties who filed an action, namely the Emilia Romagna Region and the three local health authorities of Bologna, Ravenna and Rimini.

The sum, already confiscated, is already available to the civil parties who will thus be able, at least in part, to regain possession of the sums that have been illegally disbursed. "A more unique than rare event - underlines Moreno Maresi, civil party lawyer representing the Local Health Authority of Rimini - which allows the Public Health Service, affected by the affair, to be able to collect a large sum already at the end of the hearing preliminary". The investigation, called "Ricettopoli" has revealed a deception of hundreds of thousands of euros against the National Health Service set up by a scientific informant of the pharmaceutical company Italfarmaco, with the complicity of pharmacists and doctors of the Bolognese hospitals and Romagna. The scam consisted in prescribing expensive anticancer drugs to non-existent, already deceased or completely unaware people. The Ausl paid the cost of the super drug and the compliant doctors received trips, Rolexes, high-tech objects and other gifts in exchange.

On November 21, 20 doctors and pharmacists will be tried. They will all appear before the judges in collegial composition to answer, for various reasons, for criminal association and where the crime has not lapsed into the statute of limitations, for fraud and forgery. The civil parties will be represented in the courtroom by Mariano Rossetti for the Emilia Romagna region and the Ravenna Local Health Authority, Sabrina di Giampietro for the Bologna Local Health Authority and Moreno Maresi for the Rimini Local Health Authority. Italfarmaco Spa is represented by the lawyer Alberto Alessandri of the Milan Bar.

Romagna Noi – 14 May 2014
Ricettopoli, twenty indicted among doctors and pharmacists

Forgery of prescriptions made out to real, non-existent or already deceased patients - in exchange for gifts or loans - with very expensive drugs - anticancer or antifungals -, a scam to the NHS, according to the prosecution, of over one million euros. The events, which took place in Bologna, Ravenna and Rimini, date back to 2008 and have now seen the indictment of twenty doctors and pharmacists. Involved three pharmacies and doctors "of the highest scientific level", as well as the Italfarmaco company, which agreed: a 20 thousand euro fine and compensation of 300 thousand euro to the three Ausl and the Region, civil parties in the courtroom. The tour involved the issuing of the fake prescription by the doctors, the purchase of medicines in pharmacies by the pharmaceutical informant. All in the face of gifts. In one of the pharmacies involved, costing almost half a million euros according to the Nas in 2008, 3,500 boxes of "suspicious" drugs were found. The investigation had started with almost fifty suspects but the number has dropped due to prescriptions and filings.

Frances Giani

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 – Pharmacist33
Related news:
13/May/2014 RomagnaNoi

ROMAGNA – Recipes are like a cashier's check: money in exchange for goods. It is no coincidence that the State Mint takes care of printing and distributing them. And in the shelter town in Romagna sauce which at the beginning of the investigation saw 43 people end up under the magnifying glass of the Nas, including 38 doctors, the investigators had counted 3126 prescriptions found to be untrue. Yesterday in Bologna the investigating judge of Bologna Maurizio Panza at the end of an investigation that lasted a decade has indicted 20 people (one of which is legal) involved in the Farmamarket investigation coordinated by the prosecutor Enrico Cieri who had requested the trial of 22 pharmacists, doctors and collaborators of a pharmaceutical company accused of defrauding the NHS through the fictitious prescription of very expensive life-saving drugs to unsuspecting patients and even to people whose names ticked off the list of deceased. According to what the investigations had ascertained, the doctors issued the prescriptions without actual therapeutic need, the drugs were purchased by the scientific informant of the company involved (Italfarmaco) and then disposed of in various ways thanks to one of his collaborators while the compliant doctors received the gifts.

Three Rimini doctors indicted for forgery and fraud in competition: Michele Benedetti, Alessandro Venturi and Francesco Perini. The doctors Carlo Calabrese, gastroenterologist of the San'Orsola defended by Daniele Coliva, Francesco Lancewitz (of the oncology of the Sant'Orsola, retired), Achilele Panetta (ex Bentivoglio), Pier Paolo Piccaluga (Hematology Sant'Orsola) will have to answer for the accusations , Domenico Romano of the Ausl of Bologna. The Bolognese pharmacist Roberto Dall'Osso and his assistant Milena Disteso are also indicted. The fake prescriptions were procured from the pharmacies by a scientific informant for Italfarmaco who also arranged the gifts: trips, home theatres, electronic items, Rolexes. Italfarmaco, the company that had gotten rich from the bogus sale of its anticancer drugs, has already negotiated a 20,000-euro fine and compensated the civil parties with 300,000 euros. According to the allegations, the doctor from Rimini Benedetti would have received in exchange for his favors the payment of the expenses necessary to participate in a three-year acupuncture course. The radiotherapist allegedly cheated for a sum of around 15 thousand euros. Instead Pier Paolo Piccaluga and Carlo Calabrese of the Sant'Orsola of Bologna had been compensated with a hi-fi system while Piccaluga would have gotten a laptop and reimbursed expenses for travel and participation in congresses. According to the investigators, the real engine of the scam was the scientific informant Daniele Naldi and the pharmacists. What is certain, as far as Rimini is concerned, is that the recipes were not used in local pharmacies but ended up in Bologna or Ravenna. The investigators believe they have instead obtained proof of direct contacts between Naldi and the doctors and between him and the pharmacists. Elements acquired thanks to listening to interceptions and sometimes very cryptic dialogues. There is another aspect on which the attention of the Bolognese prosecutor Enrico Cieri then focused: the cheerful use that would have been made of the lists of unsuspecting patients, violating sensitive data and the right to privacy of every patient. In the first instance, former Rimini mayor Alberto Ravaioli also ended up in the cauldron of suspects. The doctor had justified himself by stating that someone had stolen his recipe book without his knowledge. His position was finally clarified. The Ausl had also filed a civil action in Rimini with the lawyer Moreno Maresi while Mariano Rossetti had filed a civil action for the Emilia Romagna region and for the Ausl of Ravenna and the lawyer Sabrina Di Giampietro for the Ausl of Bologna.

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