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Khon Kaen Hospital director faces ‘kickback’ probe



PHOTO: Permanent Secretary for Public Health Sukum Kanjanapimai - Thai PBS World

A disciplinary inquiry has been ordered against the director of a hospital in northeastern Thailand, who stands accused of demanding kickbacks. Dr Charnchai Chanvorachaikul of Khon Kaen Hospital is accused of demanding a 5% commissions from pharmaceutical firms.

The inquiry was launched after an anonymous letter sent to the public health department’s permanent secretary. On Friday Charnchai strongly denied the allegations when he reported to the Public Health Ministry. He has been transferred to health ministry headquarters while an investigation is ongoing. The director of Prapokklao Hospital in Chanthaburi province has been appointed as acting director of Khon Kaen Hospital.

Dr Charnchai says he never demanded a kickback from pharmaceutical companies, and negotiations for discounts for the hospital’s medical procurement are transparent and on record.

He also insists that donations to the hospital development fund by pharmaceutical firms were made voluntarily, and furthermore the spending of public donations is overseen by a committee. He says he’ll seek a meeting with Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul next week to explain himself, and will petition the Civil Service Commission for fair treatment. He’s expressed concern that he won’t receive an impartial investigation.

The inquiry is being headed by the public health minstry’s inspector-general, who also served as a close aide of the public health permanent secretary. Bangkok Post reports that Charnchai is considering suing the public health permanent secretary for malfeasance.

Anutin, meanwhile, played down reports that Charnchai had threatened a lawsuit over the transfer order. He said he received a petition lodged by Doctor Charnchai and he would consult his legal advisers to determine what he can legally do in the situation.

“Fair treatment is the most important thing and, as the public health minister, I will not cross the line. I will adhere to the laws and regulations.”

SOURCES: Chiang Rai Times | Bangkok Post


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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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