The general public, the Prime Minister, the President, the opposition and medical doctors are all expressing outrage over a possible crime scheme involving misuse of cancer medications at the Oncology Clinic in Skopje after the police and prosecution seized computers and documents that might aid their pre-investigation.
As a group of citizens on social media called for a protest in front of the government set for Monday evening, Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski told media earlier that while he welcomes the protest as an additional form of pressure for the authorities to do a proper probe, he would urge restraint.
Calling the allegations a “gruesome case”, Kovacevski urged people “not to make sensationalism out of it and accuse the entire medical profession for something that was done by individuals”.
This came after the call for civic protests was spread online along with a montage photo of several prominent medical doctors, including former and current Health Ministry officials, with the word “Monsters” written over it in blood.
It also came after the main opposition VMRO DPMNE party blamed the current Social Democratic government for enabling the alleged crimes.
PM Kovacevski added that there will be “no pardon” for anyone found to be involved.
The affair began on Friday when the police and prosecution investigators raided the clinic. The Prosecutor’s Office from Skopje, the day after, said that together with the police, under a court order as part of a pre-investigation, they had seized documents and computers from the clinic and from two other private residences.
The Skopje Oncology and Radiology Clinic is the main venue for treatment of cancer patients in the country.
The prosecution said it is conducting the probe based on prior “allegations in journalistic texts in one weekly newspaper”, without stating the specific outlet or the concrete matter of inquiry.
But media and users on social networks were fast at connecting the dots with previous media writings.
Fokus weekly, in two consecutive articles in August, cited “well informed sources” and medical records it claimed to had access to, writing that an alleged “developed criminal business network” exists at this clinic that had been involved in stealing expensive medications from the clinic by using fictive patients, that later end up on the black market.
“Well-informed sources about this, we can freely say – horror story, claim that almost 95 per cent of the medical doctors and staff at the clinic are part of this scheme”, the weekly wrote on August 17 in an article called “Doctors and nurses steal drugs for cancer patients, the expensive therapy ends up on the black market!”
In a follow-up on August 31, Fokus conveyed what it said to be additional testimonies by employees at this clinic. The article was titled: “Instead of biological therapy, cancer patients were ‘treated’ with physiological solution?!”
With outrage over the weekend on social media reaching boiling point, Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski on Sunday promised full transparency about the case and added: “The number of persons [put under] special investigative measures is substantial, and that is all we can share with the public, for now”.
On Monday, President Stevo Pendarovski deemed the information about the alleged crime “shocking and discussing”, adding that it was “high time to end the culture of impunity for serious crimes”.
Meanwhile, medical doctors on social media expressed disgust about what they had heard, saying the case diminishes trust in the system and the medical profession.
The scheduled protest in Skopje later on Monday did not state official demands but people on social media have called for resignations, including from Health Minister Fatmir Mexhiti, and full criminal responsibility for those found involved.
Source : BalkanInsight