The Department of Special Investigation has summoned the directors of 11 hospitals to give statements next week over cold tablet procurement irregularities.
Tarit: Agency has its suspicions
DSI chief Tarit Pengdith said the agency suspects some of the directors may have had a hand in the disappearance of millions of pills.
They are expected to clarify the drug procurement process and produce evidence to prove they have nothing to do with any irregularities, he said.
The DSI believes more than 11 million pseudoephedrine-based cold tablets and 6,500 bottles of pseudoephedrine-based cold medicine have disappeared from the state hospitals.
Mr Tarit said it is impossible to rule out hospital management from the investigation given the scale of the missing drugs. Police and the DSI, however, only have confessions from hospital workers.
"At Udon Thani Regional Hospital, more than 7 million tablets went missing from the hospital's inventory.
"So the hospital director will have to bring solid proof to allay suspicion," he said.
The 11 hospitals are Udon Thani's Udon Thani Regional Hospital, Doi Lo Hospital, Hod Hospital, Siam Rat Hospital and Samphan Clinic in Chiang Mai, Uttaradit's Thong Sang Khan Hospital, Bangkok's Navamin 1 Hospital, Buri Ram's Nong Ki Hospital, Si Sa Ket's Phusing Hospital, Kalasin's Kamalasai Hospital, and Lop Buri's Pornchai Clinic.
The directors are scheduled to meet DSI investigators on April 19-20, Mr Tarit said.
Pseudoephedrine can be used as a precursor in the production of methamphetamine.
One cold pill is believed to be able to produce up to four speed pills.
Mr Tarit said officials from three health agencies have also been summoned to appear to provide information to assist in the investigation.
The agencies are the Office of Permanent Secretary for the Public Health Ministry which oversees state hospitals, the Department of Health Service Support which oversees privately run hospitals and the Food and Drug Administration which takes charge of medicine.
The officials are expected to meet the investigators on April 18.
Mr Tarit added the DSI has received an additional report from Chang Khlan police in Chiang Mai about the missing cold tablets from Siam Rat Hospital.
He said police have obtained a statement from Nissorn Promwang, a purchasing staff member, who allegedly admitted having forged the director's signature to place eight orders for a total of 210,000 cold tablets.
Mr Tarit said the suspect told investigators she acted alone and was paid 500-1,000 baht for each order, which she sent on to illicit drug makers.
About the author
- Writer: King-oua Laohong