A Hebei doctor caught on camera accepting cash from pharmaceutical sales representatives is now being investigated by the police.
Video of the doctor leaked online yesterday, showing a physician in a white lab coat taking a large stack of bills from men dressed in black. The footage appeared to have been taken from an unseen camera in a room of Baoding First Hospital, located in Hebei’s Baoding city.
Members of China’s online community identified the room as a vascular surgeon’s office, and these claims were later verified by Baoding First Hospital disciplinary staff.
Investigations into the matter revealed that the doctor caught on camera was a 40-year-old deputy director of vascular surgery who had been receiving bribes from medical representatives in exchange for prescribing specific drugs and promoting pharmaceutical companies in the hospital. The money exchanged exceeded 20,000 yuan (HK$25,000).
The doctor, who was only identified in media reports by his surname Wang, was described by his peers as a key member of hospital staff.
“He’s a backbone of the hospital,” a member of Baoding First Hospital’s disciplinary staff told The Beijing News. “His medical ability is very strong and he’s worked here for six years. I never expected him to break the law.”
Hospital staff confirmed that the Baoding police department had begun ongoing investigations into the extent of Wang’s bribery.
Wang is currently still working at the hospital, but has been demoted to reviewing medical records and has received a substantial pay deduction.
The bloggers that first identified Wang in the leaked video footage condemned his actions and “bad behaviour,” but also lamented that bribery in China’s hospitals “had become commonplace.”
Frequent overcrowding and stressful working conditions have prompted many Chinese doctors in recent years to begin taking kickbacks, or bribes, from pharmaceutical companies in an effort to increase their salaries.
Hospital violence has also been on the rise, and a 2013 study by the China Hospital Association revealed that out of 316 surveyed hospitals, 60 per cent said that their staff had been physically injured by angry patients.