Probe into 'suspicious' hospital donations

Probe into 'suspicious' hospital donations

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has ordered an investigation of allegations that 186 state-run hospitals received "suspicious donations" from several pharmaceutical companies.

The accusation was made on Wednesday by an academic who said 186 hospitals had been returned at least 5% of the money they had paid for medicines from a number of pharmaceutical firms in the name of donations.

Dr Somchai Chakrabhand, the chief adviser to the public health minister, was appointed chairman of the fact-finding committee, Mr Anutin said on Thursday.

"I have to look into this matter as it allegedly involves as many as 186 hospitals or more than 20% of all state hospitals under the ministry's jurisdiction," the minister said.

"Both sides [the accused hospitals and their accuser] will be held responsible for any misconduct if proved guilty," he said.

"If the accusation is proved to be true, the hospitals in question will be held responsible for their misconduct, however, if the allegations are untrue, their accusers will have to face the music for making a groundless accusation."

It should not be very difficult to investigate this alleged misconduct because if the hospitals have issued accurate receipts for the donations they received from the companies, they will be fine, he said.

However, if there are no proper receipts for the money received, there will be a problem, he said.

Mr Anutin also responded to reports that he had instructed the permanent secretary for public health and other ministry executives to not permanently transfer Dr Charnchai Chanvorachaikul, director of Khon Kaen Hospital.

He is facing a serious disciplinary probe into his alleged receiving of suspicious donations from some pharmaceutical companies.

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