Ratiopharm affair: doctors convicted of fraud

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Checks from Ratiopharm: First two doctors convicted of fraud, infidelity and corruption. The doctors had received payments from the pharmaceutical manufacturer and, in return, prescribed Ratiopharm medicines to patients. Today the judgment was given at the district court in Ulm.
(10/29/2010) Two health doctors were convicted of fraud, unfaithfulness and bribery. The corresponding judgment was passed by the district court in Ulm after the doctors received fourteen payments from the generic manufacturer Ratiopharm between 2002 and 2004 and in return prescribed Ratiopharm products for their patients. Both doctors received a one-year suspended sentence and each had to pay a fine of 20,000 euros. The doctors have appealed against the verdict.

Doctors gave Ratiopharm a competitive advantage Regularly, the two doctors in a group practice in the Alb-Donau district reported their sales to the genre manufacturer and received eight percent of the manufacturer's selling price as a “commission” for each product sold. The 14 checks that they received in return amounted to around 19,000 euros, with the doctors not reporting the payments to their medical association. This was one of the reasons for the Ulm District Court's current verdict. For the judge responsible, Katja Meyer, "it was clear that you (the accused doctors) had received checks from Ratiopharm so that they could give the company a competitive advantage."

Precedent: for the first time, medical doctors convicted of corruption The Ulm District Court broke new ground with the judgment and if this became legally binding, this would be a precedent for further possible proceedings. For the first time, doctors who do not work in a hospital or clinic were convicted of bribery, said Michael Bischofberger, spokesman for the public prosecutor's office in the news magazine "Der Spiegel". In addition, according to the "Südwest Presse" numerous other investigations against doctors and pharmaceutical officers in comparable cases are ongoing. Although a large number of the original 3,400 proceedings against the payment of fines have already been terminated, the current verdict could set a precedent and bring about a fundamentally new attitude for judges when dealing with corrupt doctors. The two affected doctors have appealed against the current verdict, so that the case will be dealt with next at the district court in Ulm.

Supreme judge clarification required In addition to the current hearing, "Der Spiegel" reports in its current edition of an accusation against a statutory health insurance physician for bribery, which was approved by the Hamburg district court. This case could ultimately end up with the Federal Court of Justice, the statement in the news magazine, commented by the competent Chief Prosecutor Wilhelm Möllers with the words: "We finally want a judge to clarify whether doctors can be punished for bribery." The current verdict also has a political impact things got moving and so the Bundestag faction of the SPD announced that it would soon submit an application to parliament that made the acts of corruption by resident doctors criminal offenses. (fp)

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