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Investigation into prescriptions could indicate fraud

MINISTER FOR Health, António Correia de Campos, has admitted that the high levels of prescriptions written by some doctors could be linked to fraud and promised that the situation would continue to be investigated.

After it was found that some doctors, who have earned the nickname “prescription champions”, have been prescribing 4,500 euros worth of drugs a day, an independent investigation was ordered by the Ministry for Health.


Initial fears were that a group of doctors in Portugal were prescribing high amounts of certain drugs in return for favours or commission from pharmaceutical companies.

The report, however, has found no evidence to suggest that assumption is true.

In the opinion of Correio de Campos, the news is, in one way, positive as it means that the pharmaceutical industry is not guilty of influencing doctors, however there is still a case to be solved.

With regard to the high prescription levels, the Minister, has said that it is possible that the situation is entirely regular or that fraudulent activities are occurring linked to the bar code stamps that are used on every prescription. It is thought possible that counterfeit copies of the requisite stamps are being made and presented to obtain more drugs at pharmacies.

Also part of the scandal is the insinuation that doctors are being allowed to attend medical conferences promoted by drugs companies that do not offer adequate scientific content, perhaps only offering commercial incentives.

Responding to this, Correia de Campos says that: “The health system and the management of hospitals have to be more diligent in terms of complying with the law relating to congresses and leave.”

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