French Doctors Found Guilty of Drugs Trafficking

Seven French doctors, a chemist, and around twenty patients, have been found guilty in a Marseilles court of trafficking medical drugs between France and South East Asia. It is believed that up to 2000 false medical prescriptions, valued at around €350,000, were handed out and subsequently sold on to intermediaries in Vietnam. The fraud was discovered after the health authority in the Bouches-du-Rhône became suspicious of a number of prescriptions that had been granted. Some included medication valued at over €4000, and were at odds with the circumstances of the patient, such as prescriptions for acne to elderly persons. In other cases, the prescriptions included medication for a group of unrelated illnesses. The initial investigation centred on nine doctors, seven chemists and over 200 patients, although prosecutions were only eventually brought against the main protagonists. A similar fraud was also recently discovered in the Paris region, in which four doctors and eleven chemists were arrested on suspicion of trafficking the heroin substitute drug Subutex. The method used by the team was the same as that in Marseilles, in which false prescriptions were created, or granted to patients, who then sold on the drugs in the market-place. These two cases are part of a much wider national fraud, estimated to be around €20m, in which dozens of doctors and chemists appear to be implicated.

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