Germany rules some doctors can accept bribes from drug companies

Posted Jul 23, 2012 by Katerina Nikolas
A German High Court has ruled that self-employed doctors are immune from charges of bribery or corruption if they accept expensive gifts and favours in return for prescribing drugs promoted by pharmaceutical companies.
Canadian doctors
Canadian doctors
Germany's Federal Court of Justice, the Bundesgerichtshof, has made a landmark ruling that freelance doctors are exempt from charges of bribery or corruption if they accept cash, favours or gifts from pharmaceutical companies, De Welt reports.
According to the BMJ the court’s decision has been backed by the German Medical Association as self-employed doctors are accountable to no institution. The Bundesgerichtshof made its ruling when faced with two cases of physicians charged with accepting cash bribes as a reward for prescribing certain drugs. The bribes involved amounted to €10,000 and €18,000.
A health policy spokesman for the Bundestag Union declared "The freedom of doctors is one of the strengths of our health care system."
Doc to Doc reports that the ruling protects 142,000 self-employed doctors in Germany.