Hundreds of police officers searched 47 properties in Germany on Tuesday morning on suspicion of accounting fraud involving cancer drugs.
The investigations targeted 14 suspects, including nine doctors, three pharmacists and two managers of pharmaceutical companies, a spokeswoman for the Hamburg prosecutor's office said.
Tuesday's operation, which involved 420 police officers and six prosecutors, was carried out in the states of Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony.
‘It is about bribery and corruption in the healthcare sector and accounting fraud, both in connection with the prescription of and billing for cytostatics,’ the spokeswoman said.
Cytostatics are used in chemotherapy treatments for cancer.
The potential damages are in the millions of euros, according to the spokeswoman.
The focus was initially on safeguarding evidence. At a healthcare company in the Hamburg city centre, police officers could be seen carrying moving boxes into the premises to remove evidence.
Arrest warrants for the suspects have not yet been issued, the spokeswoman said.
According to German media reports, a large manufacturer of cytostatics in Hamburg is at the centre of the investigations. The company allegedly bribed doctors to access prescriptions for cancer patients.
In addition to kickbacks of more than 500,000 euros (558,100 dollars), the doctors reportedly also received loans that did not have to be repaid, access to luxury vehicles or equipment for their offices.
The prescriptions then went to a pharmacy with links to the company and were illegally invoiced to insurance companies.
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