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Hospital staff accused of taking kickbacks

By Wang Huazhong (China Daily)

08:53, September 05, 2012

At least 20 managers and directors of key public hospitals in South China’s Shenzhen city are suspected of having accepted bribes, the local procuratorate said on Tuesday.

From April to June, Shenzhen prosecutors conducted a campaign to fight corruption in the medical system.

The investigation found bribery is "prevalent" in buying of medical equipment, consumable materials and drugs, and the personal interests of certain individuals and private companies have driven the over-prescription of antibiotics.

Twenty-three people are suspected of offering bribes, either for personal gain or on behalf of companies they represent.

They include former Party chief of a hospital, former deputy director of a hospital, former director of a hospital in Longgang district, and former deputy director of a hospital in the Bao’an district.

One suspect is accused of having received the largest bribes, including one of 1.1 million yuan ($170,000), and another of HK$400,000 ($51,500) and $8,000.

Prosecutors allege that the suspect accepted 1.1 million yuan from an owner of a medical equipment supplier between 2004 and 2012.

In return, he introduced the use of the suppliers’ products to his hospital. When soliciting public bids, the hospital departments "customized" specific requirements according to the configurations of the products in the company to help it win contracts, prosecutors said.

The suspect is also accused of recommending the hospital buy ultrasound medical equipment worth more than 10 million yuan, from a Hong Kong company. A major shareholder of the company, allegedly gave the suspect HK$400,000 and $8,000.

The Yantian district court of Shenzhen began criminal trials on Monday of some of the people accused of either accepting or offering bribes.

According to documents the Shenzhen procuratorate provided to China Daily on Tuesday, locals have been complaining about expensive medical services and corruption in the procurement procedures is a key cause of the problem.

The procuratorate started a campaign in April to tackle the problem.

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