Police have sought an arrest warrant for a CJ CheilJedang Corp company executive and booked 14 others for investigation on charges of giving kickbacks to doctors.
The sales executive, 50, whose name is withheld, allegedly offered doctors kickbacks worth around 4.5 billion won ($4.2 million). The company officials are suspected of giving corporate credit cards to 266 doctors across the nation, according to the National Police Agency on Sunday.
They purportedly offered the illegal kickbacks to the doctors before the law that punishes providers and receivers in the illegal trade went into effect in November 2010.
The doctors have been able to spend up to a billion won with the card, police said.
A 57-year old doctor at a public medical center in South Chungcheong, for instance, allegedly used the credit card to buy a bed, a designer watch, a refrigerator and other expensive commodities worth a total of 34 million won.
In exchange, the doctors allegedly prescribed patients with medications made by the pharmaceutical firm.
If found guilty, their punishment could vary depending on whether the bribe was spent before or after the implementation of the relevant law, according to the police.
Three officials from two other drug companies were also booked on charges of giving financial favors to doctors in the Chuncheong area.
The police have been cracking down on the rampant kickback culture between doctors and pharmaceutical companies across the country.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org