Croatia: Pharmaceutical Bosses Detained in Bribery Sweep

Croatian authorities arrested more than 26 employees and the entire management of the pharmaceutical company Farmal Monday on suspicion of paying doctors to prescribe the company's drugs, according to local media reports. 

The Croatian State Attorney's Office and Department of Corruption and Organized Crime worked together to implement the arrests, as a part of what they called 'Operation Hippocrates,' a quarterly anti-bribery action. At a press conference in Split on Monday, Croatian Health Minister Rajko Ostojic confirmed that 350 doctors were alleged to have received bribes as part of this arrangement.

Authorities learned of the bribery operation through investigative reporting by Free Dalmatia reporter Natasha Skaricic, according to an official release by the Prosecutor's office. 

"This is proof that this is a widespread phenomenon," Ostojic said at the press conference. "It causes great harm to the profession and destroys confidence in the health system." Ostojic would not comment further on the details of the case, as it is ongoing.

Farmal is majority-owned by German conglomerate Dermapharm, which bought the Croatian firm in early 2011, according to media reports.





Based on the collected data and evidence there is reasonable suspicion that the prvoosumnjičenik, CEO of one pharmaceutical company, second suspect, the financial director of the same house, trećeoosumnjičenik, regional director of South and četvrtoosumnjičenik, regional director of the north, since 2009. to 12th November 2012., in Ludbreg, agreed to on behalf of pharmaceutical companies continued to reward doctors and pharmacists by giving money and other gifts to the value of five to 10 percent of the value of drugs that doctors prescribe from their pharmaceutical supply house. In order to implement the said 22 suspects have hired employees and associates pharmaceutical company who are continuously in accordance with their instructions, a number of doctors and pharmacists gave money, vouchers for shopping in the stores, buying goods and payment of travel at the expense of pharmaceutical companies, in return for prescription drugs out of their deals, and pharmacists in return for ordering and tracking of drug dispensing.