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Former director of Bach Mai admits violations in inflating price of medical equipment

Hanoi’s People's Court on Thursday opened the first instance trial on the inflation of prices of medical equipment in Bach Mai Hospital, one of the biggest hospitals in Vietnam under the management of the Ministry of Health.

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Defendant Nguyen Quoc Anh, former director of Bach Mai Hospital (first row, left) at the trial on Thursday in Hanoi. 

 

Former director of Bach Mai Hospital Nguyen Quoc Anh admitted violations in price gouging of medical equipment and took responsibility for signing a joint venture contract between Bach Mai Hospital and BMS Company to appraise and raise the prices of equipment.

In April last year, Nguyen Quoc Anh and seven defendants were prosecuted by the Supreme People’s Procuracy for the crime of abusing power and position while performing their official duties according to Article 356, Clause 3 of the Penal Code.

Nguyen Quoc Anh was the director of Bach Mai Hospital when the alleged wrongdoings took place.

The other defendants are Nguyen Ngoc Hien, former vice director of Bach Mai Hospital, Trinh Thi Thuan and Ly Thi Ngoc Thuy, former chief accountant and deputy head of finance at the hospital, Pham Duc Tuan and Ngo Thi Thu Huyen, director and deputy director of BMS Medical Technology Joint Stock Company (BMS), Tran Le Hoang, an appraiser from the Hanoi Valuation and Financial Services JSC (VFS) and Pham Minh Dung, former director general of VFS.

During the investigation, Nguyen Quoc Anh and Nguyen Ngoc Hien were detained while the remaining defendants were released on bail.

At the trial, defendant Ly Thi Ngoc Thuy filed an application for trial in absentia due to illness and had a hospital certificate.

The trial panel approved Thuy's application for a trial in absentia.

To prepare for the trial, the panel summoned 37 victims but only three were present.

The trial also summoned a number of other people including representatives of Bach Mai Hospital, BMS Medical Technology Company (now Life Energy Company), VFS Valuation Joint Stock Company and a number of others.

According to the indictment announced at the trial, in the process of signing a joint venture contract at Bach Mai Hospital, defendant Nguyen Quoc Anh and others took advantage of their duties and powers to violate the provisions of the law.

Defendants Tran Le Hoang and Phan Minh Dung evaluated the price of robotic systems for cranial nerve surgery – the Rosa Robot – at VND39 billion (US$1.7 million) to allow BMS Medical Technology Joint Stock Company to join a joint venture with Bach Mai Hospital to install the robotic system.

Specifically, on February 20, 2017, VFS Company issued a valuation certificate showing that Rosa Robot costs VND39 billion, but three days later, this robot was imported from France for VND7.4 billion ($319,000), including taxes.

The increased purchase price of the robotic system brought profits to the collective and individual defendants with Nguyen Quoc Anh benefitting more than VND331 million.

Defendants Nguyen Ngoc Hien and Trinh Thi Thuan were determined to benefit by VND150 million and VND50 million, respectively.

The investigation showed that from February 2017 to May 2020, Bach Mai Hospital used Rosa Robot to perform cranial surgery for 639 cases, collecting more than VND22.9 billion (US$1 million) and the hospital paid the costs related to 551 cases to BMS Company.

According to the assessment, the cost of surgery with Robot Rosa was more than VND6.6 million per case but the hospital and BMS Company charged patients more than VND23 million.

The difference was more than VND16.5 million per case, causing more than VND10 billion in damage to the patients.

During questioning, Nguyen Quoc Anh admitted the violations and responsibility for signing a joint venture contract between the hospital and BMS Company which led to errors in the appraisal and increase of the medical equipment price.

Nguyen Quoc Anh admitted to receiving from defendant Pham Duc Tuan a total of VND100 million and US$10,000.

However, defendant Nguyen Quoc Anh said that the money was just a gift for holidays and Tet. 

At the trial, defendants Nguyen Ngoc Hien and Trinh Thi Thuan also admitted their violations.

The trial will continue on Friday.

Source: Vietnam News

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