hundreds charged in croatia over pharmaceutical probe
Last Updated : GMT 16:19:48
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Hundreds charged in Croatia over pharmaceutical probe

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Arab Today, arab today Hundreds charged in Croatia over pharmaceutical probe

Zagreb - AFP

Hundreds of people reported to be doctors have been charged with corruption in Croatia following a probe targeting a local pharmaceutical firm whose management was also indicted, officials said Saturday. "The charges are brought up against 364 Croatian citizens and Farmal pharmaceutical company for bribery, abuse of power and corruption," the country's anti-graft bureau said in a statement. Croatia's anti-graft bureau, USKOK, said the top management of Farmal, based in the northern town of Ludbreg, was charged with bribing "medical workers," mostly primary care doctors and pharmacists to "order and prescribe drugs produced" by the company. The bureau did not specify how many doctors have been charged, but local media reported that some 300 doctors have been indicted. The indictment in the operation "Hippocrates" -- the biggest of its kind -- was brought up before a court in the capital Zagreb after the probe launched in November 2012, the bureau said. The date for the trial has yet to be set. The suspects face up to five years imprisonment if convicted. "A number of settlements have been made during the probe, mostly on probation fines for the doctors, as the health care system would collapse if they lose their jobs," Jutarnji list daily reported. Croatia, which joined the European Union in July, has about 5,000 primary care doctors. According to Farmal's webpage, the firm produces generic drugs, including antibiotics, as well as drugs to treat cardiovascular, gastroenterological, bone, muscular and neuropsychiatric diseases.

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