Court releases indicted doctor on NT$30 million bail
July 09, 2008
In indicted veteran psychiatrist at Taitung Hospital was released on bail of NT$30 million (US$980,000) on Monday after being held in custody for 14 months.
Chen Ming-jer (陳明哲), director of Taitung Hospital’s Department of Psychiatry, was indicted on charges of health insurance fraud, taking kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies, using false prescriptions to obtain restricted drugs from the national health insurance system to sell for profit, and violating the Physicians’ Code.
The Taitung District Court’s Public Prosecutors’ Office began to investigate Chen in April last year. As they delved deeper into the case, they found more irregularities relating to his practice.
Prosecutors went through the records of Chen’s 6,000 patients and alleged that he used more than 100 patients with no psychiatric problems to claim treatment fees from the national health insurance system.
The prosecutors also alleged that Chen took at least NT$60 million in kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies, including NT$19 million in gold bullion. The money was seized as evidence.
He is also alleged to have used fake prescriptions to obtain Stimin and Eszopiclone — two restricted drugs used to treat insomnia — and sell them for profit.
The prosecutors’ office is recommending that the court sentence him to 30 years in prison.
In April this year, the district court set bail at NT$30 million for his release, but his family was unable to put up the sum.
Last Friday, the court again agreed to release him on bail of the same amount, but this time his family paid the money.
In addition to prohibiting Chen from leaving the country, the court requires him to report to the police office in his district every Monday between 7pm and 9pm. He has been warned not to intimidate witnesses in his case or to cause them physical or financial harm.