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Romanian officials raid homes in medicines corruption probe

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romanian prosecutors have searched dozens of home and offices looking for evidence that drug companies offered doctors vacations and other incentives in exchange for prescribing cancer drugs.

A statement from the anti-corruption agency Tuesday said that 61 homes and offices were searched in Bucharest and in the northwest Transylvania region. The agency’s chief prosecutor, Laura Codruta Kovesi, said the probe is centered on a number of medical institutes and the way certain cancer medicines were purchased and prescribed.

Another prosecutor, speaking on condition of anonymity because the operation is still underway, said there were suspicions doctors were offered free holidays in locations including Las Vegas, had expenses covered for medical congresses and offered other material perks worth hundreds of millions of lei (tens of thousands of dollars) from 2012 to 2015.

Pharmacies and medicine distributors are also subjects of the probe.

The head of the Oncology Department in Sibiu County Hospital, Valeria Valeanu, whose home was searched by anti-corruption prosecutors on Tuesday, acknowledged she had been sponsored by medical companies for trips abroad, but denied wrongdoing. She said it was a common practice in Romania and abroad, and insisted the medicine she prescribed to patients was approved.

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