Greek PM heralds another corruption probe, into health

17 March 2017
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Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras heralded the creation of a parliamentary committee to investigate alleged cases of corruption and gross mismanagement in the Greek state health sector, which is on the brink of collapse, according to industry experts.

In comments to Parliament during PM’s Question Time on Friday, Tsipras referred to “clouds gathering over the health sector… one scandal after another.”

Specifically, he referred to the case of the Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO), which has been the focus of a broader probe into its generous use of state funding for advertising campaigns, as well as alleged corruption by Novartis, Europe’s second-largest pharmaceutical company.

As regards the latter case, Tsipras remarked, the level of corruption could be more acute than in the notorious Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal.

Tsipras was responding to a question lodged in the House by Vassilis Leventis, leader of the Union of Centrists, regarding the problems besetting the Greek health sector.

The premier called for a parliamentary probe into the health sector just a few days before a cross-party panel is to be set up to investigate years of defense sector procurement under previous Socialist and conservative governments. Widespread corruption and kickbacks are believed to have contributed to the huge debt pile that got Greece into its current economic mire.

On Thursday the Panhellenic Medical Association declared that the Greek health sector is on the brink of collapse, citing chronic shortages in staff and equipment at state hospitals.

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