Wednesday, 18 October 2023
Dr. Filiz Besim (CTP), made a statement regarding the prescription fraud arrests, Yeniduzen reports.
In the report, she blamed the Ministry of Labour and Social Security for ignoring a file which contained the allegations of fraud.
In the statement, she said, “We all witnessed that the reputation of our most valuable human resources was destroyed by the state’s hand. Society has been sentenced to a trauma that will not be overcome for years“.
Dr. Besim said that the Minister of Labour and Social Security received a file as soon as he took office. It contained the names of 91 doctors and 291 pharmacies with insurance contracts. The same file was handed to previous ministers as well, but no one opened it. This file contained allegations of irregularities and improprieties in the insurance prescription forms of the officials.
Besim suggested that the ministry should set up a team to conduct an internal audit in cooperation with ministry officials, bureaucrats and representatives of the Turkish Medical Association.
They should warn doctors and pharmacies about the irregularities they observe in the prescriptions, and if necessary, cancel their contracts. Those suspected of corruption or involvement in organised crime should be referred to the police.
She went on to say that, “the Ministry of Labour and Social Security is responsible for establishing the General Health Insurance. For years, it has been deducting contributions from the salaries of individuals covered by the insurance and maintaining a health fund within its structure. Normally, it was expected that this money would be used to contribute to the healthcare expenses of workers. However, this didn’t happen. Only a small amount of medication support began to be provided to insured patients. In recent years, an online system was established to make this support more accessible to patients. The system was weak and lacked supervision. The most important stakeholder, the doctor who knows the illness and the medication, was not involved in the system’s oversight.
“Under pandemic conditions to reduce patient movement, the system was further simplified. The requirement for the patient to see a doctor was eliminated, putting the pharmacist face to face with the patient or the patient’s family.
Besim stated that the outcome was that the police received the file and initiated an investigation. The laws were already outdated, she said. A series of arrests began and detainees were held in inhumane conditions, then they were then taken to court in handcuffs.
“But these people were doctors and pharmacists whom we had entrusted with our health for years”, said Besim. “In reality, they had no way out nor any intentions of wrongdoing. There were claims that they could tamper with evidence, so doctors and pharmacists were detained for days in insanitary conditions, in rooms filled with bedbugs, with lack of access to water and toilet facilities. There were no beds to sleep on, and even reading books was prohibited.
“Some media outlets published pictures of these individuals in handcuffs without considering their presumption of innocence, perhaps without waiting to see if they would be found innocent. But what about the former ministers and bureaucrats who were warned but didn’t do what was necessary? Will they also be investigated? We don’t know!
“We all witnessed that the reputation of our most valuable human resources was destroyed by the state’s hand. Society has been condemned to a trauma that will not be overcome for years. I am very, very sorry. I experienced war and displacement at the age of 8. I have never felt such a sense of darkness and hopelessness. And again, if there are doctors or pharmacists committing corruption and engaging in organised crime, I am among those who, like the entire community, want them to receive the necessary punishment”, Besim stated.