NEWS

Four suspects in cancer drug racket sent to pre-trial detention

IOANNA MANDROU

TAGS: Crime, Health

Four out of 21 people arrested last week as suspected members of an international racket dealing in medicines, including expensive drugs for cancer treatment, were detained pending trial after appearing before a corruption investigative magistrate on Monday.

The suspects are two current and one former nurse from Laiko hospital and a pharmacist. Another 12 people are expected to appear before the investigative magistrate, including a 70-year-old Egyptian man believed to be the ringleader.

The organization comprised hospital doctors, nursing personnel, pharmacists and pharmaceutical supply companies, according to investigators who are seeking several more people in connection to the theft.

Believed to have operated since 2013, the racket is thought to have acquired expensive medicines from state-run hospitals using forged documents and sold them in Germany, Switzerland and Italy at inflated prices.

According to information, authorities have focused their attention on eight more doctors, and evidence so far shows that the gang had operated in other hospitals apart from Laiko.

The scam cost the Greek state at least 25 million euros, according to Greece’s Financial Police, whose officers detained the suspects.

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