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Doctors get huge commissions

Posted January. 29, 2001 19:35,   


Some 1,000 doctors at big hospitals in Seoul allegedly received money and goods worth a combined 2.5 billion won from pharmaceutical companies in return for using their medicines.

The National Police Agency (NPA) has embarked on an intensive investigation of the doctors and pharmaceutical firms, a spokesman said Monday.

The NPA found evidence of corruption involving doctors at most hospitals in Seoul and some pharmaceutical firms as a result of an investigation of six companies, including foreign firms, that began last October.

The companies are suspected of offering commissions of up to some tens of million of won to doctors. The NPA summoned some of the doctors and company officials and was questioning them, the spokesman said.

The scandal is expected to have far-reaching implications in light of the fact that medical professors and doctors at most major hospitals in Seoul were allegedly involved and a bill related to the separation of the roles of doctors and pharmacists is pending at the National Assembly.

According to the NPA, the six pharmaceutical companies are suspected of giving money and goods worth 2.5 billion won to some 1,000 doctors at about 50 hospitals beginning in 1998 in return for using their medicines.

These illicit practices allegedly continued after July, when the medical reform program separating the professional roles of doctors and pharmacists went into effect.

Foreign companies offered much more money to the doctors than local firms, according to the NPA.