Prosecutor's office investigates pharmacies for millions of prescription fraud

Prosecutor's office investigates pharmacies for millions of prescription fraud

Media report: Prosecutors are investigating fraudulent pharmacist fraud
It has recently become known that dubious nursing services are cheating health insurers by demanding funds for services that have not been provided. In some pharmacies it seems to be the same. According to a media report, the cash registers are cheated with so-called "air recipes" in the millions.

Fraud with so-called "air prescriptions"
According to information from the “Welt am Sonntag”, public prosecutors in several federal states are investigating fraudulent proceedings against pharmacists. As the newspaper reported, it is about so-called "air recipes". In a message from the AFP news agency, it says that pharmacists settle thousands of prescriptions with the statutory health insurers, even though the prescribed medication never went through their counters. They would have done things together with doctors or patients.

Health economists assume that the number of unreported cases is high
According to the report, the amount of damage that statutory health insurance companies suffer from fraudulent pharmacists is in some cases significantly higher than with any other professional group in the healthcare sector. In 2015, the commercial health insurance company alone reclaimed almost half a million euros from pharmacists, about twice as much as from the nursing services. Because the risk of detection is exceptionally low, experts assume that there is a high number of unreported cases of billing fraud. Bremen-based health economist Gerd Glaeske said: "In these constellations of criminal energy, there are usually only a few people who have knowledge, and as long as they stick together and do not blow each other off, there is little chance that it will be exposed."

Fraud damage potentially in the billions
The organization Transparency Germany estimates the damage caused by fraud and corruption with medicinal products to a total of 680 million to 2.72 billion euros per year. As stated in the agency report, that would be two to eight percent of the almost 35 billion euros spent by the statutory health insurance funds last year for pharmaceutical prescriptions. Money misappropriated by pharmacists is included as well as benefits that doctors receive for the controversial use observations.

Billing fraud in care services
Corruption and healthcare fraud are not really new. In the past, there were mainly indications of accounting fraud in the case of so-called remedies such as physiotherapy, physiotherapy or massages. For example, damage in the billions caused by accounting fraud in nursing was recently reported. According to media reports, Russian nursing services have billed services that have not been performed using fake nursing protocols, causing damage of at least one billion euros. (ad)

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