Tuesday 17 October 2017

St Vincent’s Hospital accused of fraud and cover-up over cancer drugs

Senator John Crown
Senator John Crown

Independent Senator John Crown has accused staff in St Vincent’s Hospital of deliberately and fraudulently charging health insurers for cancer drugs provided free of charge.

He accused the management and board of St Vincent’s Hospital of a “cover-up” in relation to the issue, saying that he had personally notified the relevant and the Irish Medicines Board when he learnt about it in 2002.

He said members of the staff of the hospital had been deliberately and fraudulently charging private health insurers in respect of cancer drugs which had been provided to that institution for free.

"This began in 2002 when I discovered members of the staff of the hospital had been deliberately and fraudulently charging private health insurers in respect of cancer drugs, which had been given to that institution for free," he exlpained.

"I notified the relevant authorities - The Irish Medicines Board at the time - an investigation began, and inexplicably stopped and was reformatted several days later.

He said that documents had recently came into his possession which showed that there was a cover-up conducted by the management and board of St Vincent’s hospital in respect of this.

"Documents have recently come into my possession which I'm quite happy to discuss and share with the Minister for Health, because they refer to money that was fraudulently taken from the voluntary health insurance, of which he is the sole shareholder and of other private insurers," he said.

"Documents will show that there is a cover up conducted by the management and board of St Vincent's Hospital in respect of this."

Professor Crown told the Seanad that the board of St Vincent’s hospital did not enjoy his confidence. He said he was prepared to supply the documents he had to Health Minister Dr James Reilly. The leader of the Seanad, Fine Gael Senator Maurice Cummins, agreed to bring the matter to the attention of Dr Reilly.

"Substantial intimidation was brought to bear at the time that the whistle was blown on this 10 years ago; but I believe, in light of these new documents coming my way and in light of the scrutiny of the public affairs committee that now is the time for this matter to be further investigated."

Michael Brennan, Deputy Political Editor

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