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Eleven doctors involved in the DePuy affair

17 February 2013 / 15:02:04  GRReporter
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Eleven doctors have fallen into the nets of the Office for Investigation of Economic Crimes - there is evidence that they were involved in the affair related to the company for orthopaedic products, DePuy. The inspection of the doctors' tax returns found amounts reaching 5,812,000 euro, the origin of which cannot be proven. As a result of the investigation, it became clear that two Greek companies for orthopaedic products had approached the Ministry of Finance and reached an agreement with it. The companies were required to pay the amount of 12.1 million euro and admit that they made illegal transactions with doctors so that they would promote their products. In parallel, the Office discovered a new affair of illegal funding in which the main role is played by a German pharmaceutical company that pays researchers in various cities of Greece to present its products.

The investigation of the DePuy affair revealed the following facts:

- A company operating in Greece, headquartered in an offshore area on the Isle of Man, suborns orthopaedists in public hospitals in Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras in order for them to prescribe DePuy's products to patients.

- The inspection of the tax returns of the 11 doctors found unexplained amounts reaching 5,812,000 euro. The information was sent to the relevant tax authorities for further clarification. The Prosecutor's Office received signals of bribery of doctors who worked in state hospitals during the period of the investigation.

- The companies involved were fined according to the Tax Code to the amount of 18,845,000 euro and VAT totalling 2,450,000 euro. Two companies have agreed with the Ministry of Finance, admitting their offences, and they were imposed a fine of 12.1 million euro.

As for the DePuy company, criminal charges were brought against five employees of the parent company Johnson & Johnson for regularisation of revenues, illegal activities and bribery, and they will soon be called to testify before an investigator. Eight physicians were also charged, including former and current directors of public hospitals' orthopaedic clinics that have "promoted" the products in question.

The results of the new investigation, which the Office for Investigation of Economic Crimes began at the request of the Prosecutor's Office, discovered a group of doctors, subsidised by the Research Fund of the University of Athens, while, at the same time, receiving illegal funding from a German firm, so that they would recommend its products for clinical studies or trials of drugs. According to the same information, other such groups in various cities have also been already disclosed, the inspection of which is about to start.

Tags: Bribery doctors orthopaedists DePuy Office for Investigation of Economic Crimes
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