采访/朱智善 编辑/陈洁 后制/钟元
Corrupt Hospital Directors Obtain Bribes From Pharmaceutical Companies
Mainland Chinese have often experienced the difficulties and high costs of medical treatments. Even if they do have medical insurance, the issue still exists and people still pay a high price. The question remains, Why is it so?
Recently, it is reported that various “hidden rules" are prevailing within hospitals, which include claiming back-handers or returns for the procurement of medicines and equipment, as well as the building and construction. However, such corruption costs of the hospital are all passed on to the patients. Just last year, directors of 16 public hospitals in Anhui Province, faced charges of corruption.
“Xinhua" reported on Feb. 8, the Anti-corruption Bureau of Anhui Provincial Procuratorate officially investigated 108 cases related to corruption and bribery within the medical field,which involved 123 people including 16 directors and six deputy directors of hospitals. In some individual cities, the vast majority of First Class Grade II hospitals, were found to have staff investigated on charges of corruption.
Anti-Corruption Bureau of Anhui Provincial Procuratorate, disclosed that 16 hospital directors had been investigated and punished last year, including Gao Xuezhong, former director of the People’s Hospital of Fuyang City, Zhu Dechang, former director of the People’s Hospital of Lu’An City, Ding Huaishun, and the former director of Mengcheng County Hospital. In addition, the heads of “key” medical institutions of a few counties were also caught and investigated.
It is reported that the relevant presidents of the hospital mainly realised “the exchange of money with power” through three key channels including medicine procurement, medical equipment procurement, and the infrastructure projects. In order to sell more medicines to hospitals, the pharmaceutical companies gave back-hander payments to the relevant key persons and the president of the hospital. Many presidents of hospitals “are pleased to accept the back-handers", and formed a highly tacit understanding between themselves and the pharmaceutical companies or suppliers.
Shanghai activist Du Yaming: “When doctors issue prescriptions, they take the corrupt money. More open prescriptions, more back-handers. Then the doctor intentionally issues the prescriptions for such medicines. Some patients may not even need to use such medicines, yet doctors still prescribe them, in the process of accepting paybacks.”
Regarding the medical equipment procurement, it is reported that hospitals signed finance lease agreements for those high-value large scale equipment with the suppliers, and set up profit-sharing agreements. After the suppliers won the bid, in order to obtain high profits, they often bribe the hospital heads so that the hospital prioritises consuming their medical supplies for a long period of time.
Du Yaming: “Once you went to the hospital, colds and coughs or just slightly higher blood pressure, all the appliances and equipment provided by them, was used to examine you. So before you receive the treatment, you have to pay a few thousands RMB for the examination fee. Especially if you suffered with cancer, you would be examined through various channels, first surgery, then internal medicine, cardiology etc. Every time when you change a department, you would be re-checked again."
The reports revealed that a hospital president owns greater power in hospital infrastructure projects, and their “appetite" for paybacks is even greater. The power in their hands helps contractors shunning standard tendering procedures, and winning the infrastructure projects of a hospital which costs hundreds of thousands of yuan. The bidding procedures become “pro forma."
Zhang Jian, a Chinese social problems researcher in America. He said: “A project from its beginning, has the existence of corruption, including meals, taking money, taking kickbacks, as well as jerry and shabby projects. Of course, after the completion of a hospital, the hospital is hard on internal staff, and then require the doctors to be hard on patients which costs the patient a lot of money. So the patients have to give red envelopes to bribe the doctors. This is the corruption situation in our hospitals."
The investigators of the procurator department of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) said, the corruption of the president of a hospital often means that the hospital has been “rotten" from top to bottom. According to staff at the grassroots of these medical institutions, the presidents and other key people, are also involved in the bribery. This then has a knock on effect to the other staff who have Come to realise, “law does not punish many law breakers", and that slowly a situation forms and becomes routine of “taking kickbacks" in hospital practice.
Zhang Jian: “When the executives of hospitals promote or select the appointment of directors and senior positions of various departments, they use their position of power for exchanging money and sexual trade. The hospitals also have such problems as lax control and management over procurement departments for purchasing medicines, taking substantial kickbacks or using fake or inferior medicines to swindle patients. So the whole hospital system is corruptive in all aspects, and this even includes the current hospital scalpers, who are now controlled by the hospitals."
According to the public information published
by the procurator department,
these 16 presidents of the hospitals in question, are involved
in huge of money.
For example, the former president Zhu Dechang of Lu’An
People’s Hospital, illegally accepted bribes of 2.79 million
yuan when he was in charge of the construction of surgical
medical technology building and
comprehensive outpatient building,
he was also involved in the centralised medicine procurement process. As the former president of Funan County People’s Hospital, Liu Xuewu is suspected of taking bribes of tens of million RMB. But their actual amount of bribes may be far higher than the officially published amounts.
“View China" of “China Network" pointed out that most hospitals set up internal oversight bodies, but they are almost non-existent, which is related to the professional features of a hospital. What sort of specific medicines, and what sort of medical equipment are used, are all determined by the authority of the hospital. However, many presidents of hospitals are not only the head of administrative authority of the hospital, but also the backbone of the hospital business, medical academic authority, who have the administrative power and decision-making power on medical skills. So the internal supervision system often fails.
Interview/Zhu Zhishan Edit/ChenJie Post-Production/ZhongYuan