Organized Crime Group Re-exporting Medicines Busted

Sofia, December 2 (BTA) - An organized crime group has been busted for economic crimes involving re-export of medicinal products, it transpired at a briefing in the Interior Ministry on Saturday. Participating were Interior Minister Valentin Radev and Health Minister Kiril Ananiev, the administrative head of the Specialized Prosecution Office, Ivan Geshev, and Ivaylo Spiridonov, Director of the Chief Directorate for Combating Organized Crime (CDCOC).

Proceedings were launched in September following an alert received six months earlier. The CDCOC conducted the operation in Sofia, Shoumen, Slivnitsa, and Plovdiv; twenty people were arrested, over 60 addresses were searched, and tens of interrogations were held on Friday. According to operational data, the crime group comprises seven persons.

The crime group is being investigated for tax crimes, money laundering, and export of medicinal products used by cancer patients and children. Medicines worth millions of leva have been seized. These medicinal products are both live-saving and life-supporting, Geshev explained. Some of them are being used for parallel exports to EU Member States, while others are illegally imported and then exported, he specified.

Spiridonov said that these medicines cannot possibly end up on the black market, unless they come from medical treatment facilities and pharmacies. There are people who purchase medicinal products through medical personnel and doctors and then stock them up in a warehouse. This is not the only scheme for misappropriation of medicines, he commented.

Ananiev said this is a case of siphoning of hundreds of millions of leva from the National Health Insurance Fund's budget. "Our measures, including joint ones with the colleagues from the national services, will continue in other health care sectors, " he underscored.

Source: Sofia