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German police search pharmacists, doctors suspected of cancer drug fraud

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | December 18, 2019
Police in three German federal states conducted raids at pharmacists and doctors suspected of accounting fraud involving cancer drug.
Health in Germany   Cytotoxic drugs are natural or synthetic substances
"It is about bribery and corruption in health care and billing fraud, both in connection with the prescription and billing of cytotoxic drugs," a spokesperson of the Hamburg public prosecutor's office confirmed to Xinhua on Tuesday.

Topics: German police pharmacists doctors drug fraud

Cytotoxic drugs are natural or synthetic substances that inhibit cell growth or cell division and are mainly used in chemotherapy for cancer treatment.

The investigations by German authorities were directed against 14 suspects, including doctors, pharmacists as well as managing directors of pharmaceutical companies.

A total of 420 police officers and six public prosecutors were involved in the operation and the searches on Tuesday.

According to the German public broadcaster ARD and ZEIT Online, it was the largest raid ever ordered by the Hamburg public prosecutor's office.

ZytoService, a German company specialized in the production of infusion against cancer, had bribed doctors in order to receive fake prescriptions, which were then illegally billed to German health insurers via a pharmacy, according to the report of ZEIT Online.

Since January 2017, the doctors would have received payments of more than 500,000 euros (558,000 U.S. dollars) as well as "non-repayable loans, luxurious vehicles and other benefits" from ZytoService, ARD and ZEIT Online reported.

According to the report, Germany's largest health insurance company, Techniker Krankenkasse, alone had suffered financial losses of 8.6 million euros from the fraud with cancer drugs since January 2017.