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China detains 160 in Shanghai healthcare scam

Published on Apr 15, 2014 12:08 PM

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - Chinese authorities have detained 160 members of a criminal gang in the eastern city of Shanghai after the group swindled patients by luring them to fake medical clinics and selling them over-priced drugs, Shanghai police said on Tuesday.

The gang cheated over 500 victims out of 1.7 million yuan (S$340,000), employing corrupt doctors to inflate drug prices and prescribe large amounts of medicines to patients, the city's police department said in a posting on its official microblog.

Corruption in China's healthcare system is rife, with a scarcity of doctors and bribery pushing up the cost of care and creating tension between healthcare workers and patients.

Providing affordable, accessible healthcare is one of the key platforms of president Xi Jinping's new government, with China's healthcare bill set to hit US$1 trillion (S$1.3 trillion) by 2020, according to a report from McKinsey & Co.

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