HCMC hospital found breaking many rules

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Ho Chi Minh City health inspectors have found several violations at the 115 People's Hospital including forcing patients to buy medicines from its pharmacy.

They suspect the hospital doctors were pushing patients to buy medicines from the hospital's pharmacy in order to receive commissions from pharmaceutical firms.

The HCMC Health Department, which carried out the inspection from December 2009 to March this year, announced the results on April 20 saying the hospital doctors have been asking patients to buy medicines from the hospital pharmacy since 2008.

The illegal policy had been initiated by the hospital's management, inspectors said.

Inpatients were also told to buy medicines at the pharmacy although regulations require the hospital to supply them directly and include it in the hospital bills patients pay after their treatment.

This means patients have paid more because prices for inpatients are lower than retail prices at pharmacies.

The practice is "illegal and has hurt many patients," inspectors said.

The 115 People's Hospital was also found violating state regulations on bidding in buying medicines, with improper bidding procedures and several disqualified pharma firms winning the contracts.

Inspectors also found the hospital had asked for approval from the city Health Department to increase the earmarked money for buying medicines in 2009, although they had only spent around half of the approved amount.

The Health Department said it would propose the municipal People's Committee, the city government, to take measures against involved individuals.

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