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Obstetric doctors prescribe... cosmetics to patients

Obstetric doctors prescribe... cosmetics to patients

Monday, October 08, 2012, 13:11 GMT+7

Cosmetics do not help prevent or cure diseases, but many obstetric doctors in Ho Chi Minh City are ready to prescribe them to postnatal women to allegedly get commissions of 30 percent from the seller, a Tuoi Tre investigation has found. The cosmetics most often prescribed by obstetric doctors are those bearing the Tanamera brand (see photo), including six kinds of herbal products, whose retail prices are 387.5 percent to 400.9 percent higher than their import prices plus VAT. The importer and provider of these products is the Quoc Hung Production Trading and Services Co Ltd, located at 178A Nguyen Van Troi Street, Phu Nhuan District, HCMC. According to Le Thi Kim Dung, vice director of Quoc Hung, the company has sold Tanamera products to Hung Vuong Obstetrics Hospital and a private clinic of Dr. N. in District 5. While talking with Tuoi Tre correspondents who pretended to be potential agents for Quoc Hung, Dung said her company gave a 30 percent commission for those who act as its agents, including doctors, and that the commission is paid before delivery. Quoc Hung will support its agents by proving them with banners and leaflets to introduce products. However, on September 24, Tuoi Tre asked about whether Quoc Hung paid commission to doctors who prescribed the company’s products, Dung said her cosmetics are not medicine, so they do not involve doctors. When Tuoi Tre told her that it was she who previously said her company pays 30 percent commission to doctors, she said it is only the policy for agents and that she did not know whether these agents had joined hands with doctors in offering such products to patients at obstetrics hospitals.

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The retail prices of these herbal comestic products are sold much higher than their import prices plus VAT(Photo: Tuoi Tre)

Not admitting to receiving kickbacks Nguyen Van Truong, director of Hung Vuong Obstetrics Hospital, admitted to Tuoi Tre that some doctors at the hospital prescribed Tanamera products to patients. The hospital’s pharmacy reported to Truong that it sold such products that had been prescribed by doctors, he said, adding that he had asked the head of the Post-Obstetrics Department, V.T.M.H, to submit a report about the scandal. In the report, the doctor recognized such prescriptions of cosmetics was wrong and promised to stop the problem. Regarding the commission issue, Truong said there was no evidence to conclude doctors had received kickbacks from Quoc Hung, although there could have been a certain motive for doctors to give such prescriptions. However, doctors who have included cosmetics in their prescriptions to patients would be disciplined, he said. Similarly, two doctors at An Sinh Hospital admitted that they had prescribed such Tanamera cosmetics to patients but they affirmed that they receive no commission from providers. Ngo Dang Son Anh, director of the hospital, said, “Obstetrics doctors said such products are good for patients. They prescribe them only to patients who wish to use them. They do not force patients to use cosmetics.” Meanwhile, Huynh Thi Trong, head of the Obstetrics Department, said she had requested that doctors stop prescribing such products to patients. “Many doctors only wrote the name of the products on a sheet and patients can buy it from anywhere they like,” Anh said, adding that doctors had not gotten any commission from Quoc Hung.

Tuoi Tre

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