Pharmacies: Fraud With Fake Cancer Drugs?



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Pharmacies: Fraud With Fake Cancer Drugs? The Mannheim public prosecutor's office is investigating 70 pharmacies from all over Germany. They are said to have bought cheap and possibly ineffective or partly ineffective anti-cancer drugs from abroad and sold them expensively in Germany. A damage in the "double-digit million amount" should have arisen.

The Mannheim public prosecutor's office is investigating 70 pharmacies from all over Germany. It is not easy for pharmacists at the moment: If the high margins and the density of pharmacies were recently denounced in media reports, pharmacists now seem to have a tangible scandal in their own ranks that is attracting a lot of media attention.

NDR-Info had reported that in addition to Lower Saxony, pharmacies in Celle and Braunschweig, as well as other major cities in Germany, were being investigated. Specifically, it should include pharmacies in Münster, Augsburg, Mainz, Wuppertal and Kiel.

All are said to have bought cancer medications, so-called cytostatics, cheaply abroad and illegally brought them to Germany and sold them more expensive here by offsetting the foreign cytostatics with the health insurance companies at the conditions prevailing with us. Some of the drugs are said not to have been approved in Germany. The question is how the pharmacists then managed to get the medication to the customer at all. According to media reports, it could even be that the active ingredient compositions bordered on the ineffective and that possible additives caused side effects. In addition to the fraud, that would be bitter news for cancer patients.

The health insurance companies are already reacting. A spokesman for the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) spoke of damage to the health insurance companies in the "double-digit million range". The Lower Saxony AOK became more concrete: there a sum of over two million euros in damage was mentioned.

There are almost 22,000 pharmacies in Germany. However, only about 500 of these are suitable for diluting the medication so that it is individually tailored to the respective cancer patient. This means that if current media reports and investigations are confirmed, around one in seven of the pharmacies have cheated for cancer patients. There is even a separate association for these pharmacies - the Association of Pharmacists Preparing for Cytostats. However, supervision and control are the responsibility of an official pharmacist. According to the medical newspaper, there have been investigations by health insurers and public prosecutors since 2007 that led to the current proceedings. (Thorsten Fischer, non-medical practitioner osteopathy, 04/17/2010)

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