They accuse 34 pharmacies of embezzling 53 million euros in Covid-19 test fraud

They accuse 34 pharmacies of embezzling 53 million euros in Covid-19 test fraud

34 pharmacies have been accused of Covid-19 test fraud in France with up to €53 million believed to have been fraudulently claimed from the government.

According to the RTL news site on Wednesday, July 13, pharmacies carried out fraudulent PCR and antigen tests over a two-year period.

The fraud came to light after government administrators grew suspicious of the size of the claims, with only one pharmacy claiming €18 million.

Thomas Fatôme, the General Director of Health Insurance, said that the fraud was on an industrial scale with up to nine out of ten fraudulent claims. In all cases, the pharmacy claimed to have distributed the test to a nurse, doctor, or physical therapist.

In total, 151 million antigen tests were carried out across France at a cost of €4 billion through pharmacies with another €8 billion for PCR tests. As a result of the large number of pharmacies involved, all pharmacies making large or suspicious claims are being audited: 150 have been authorized, another 169 are due for audit, and 34 have defrauded the health system.

So far, auditors have uncovered 53 million euros in fraudulent claims and those involved could face imprisonment, a ban from practicing and the return of the money stolen. In total, more than 16,000 pharmacies participated in the distribution of tests, but few are believed to have been fraudulent.

The National Union of Community Pharmacists has called for the greatest possible penalties for those involved who say: “they have degraded the image of an entire profession.”

So far, 14 criminal cases have been brought before the current minister responsible for education and vocational training, Carole Grandjean claims that fraud within the health system could cover up to 30 per cent of claims.

She puts the loss to the health system at around €400m a year, with plans in place to start evaluating arrangements with general practitioners, physiotherapists and dentists.

The case is not unlike that of the fraud committed in Madrid where the vaccination certificates were purchased, however, the values ​​involved in this case are astronomical in comparison and involve swindling the government rather than the sale of certificates.

The scale of the Covid-19 test fraud involving the 34 pharmacies is unheard of, although investigations in other countries such as the UK have identified vast waste and contractual irregularities.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.