Marine Sabourin, edited by Laura Laplaud
As France faces a shortage of certain drugs, a new scam could make the situation worse. A fraud would make it possible to obtain free treatments against cancer in order to resell them at exorbitant prices abroad. At the origin of this traffic: young delinquents adept at scams of all kinds.
The scam is simple: get reimbursed drugs to resell them abroad. A scam all the more serious as it concerns treatments against cancer which are already lacking in French pharmacies. Last May, 14 of these traffickers were sentenced in Mulhouse. They had embezzled 700,000 euros worth of drugs with a well-established method.
Fake prescriptions made to perfection
They are young adults, lured by large sums of money, canvassed on the social network Snapchat. The traffickers offer them 1,000 euros to fetch drugs from pharmacies with fake prescriptions. These dummy prescriptions are made to perfection: signature of recognized oncologists, hospital letterhead, everything is there.
Drugs sold for several thousand euros
The only condition to participate in this traffic is to be in possession of a Vitale card. Once recovered, these anti-cancer drugs are resold for several thousand euros abroad. Prescription trafficking is a known offence, but against cancer, it is unprecedented, as explained by Alain Delgutte of the National Council of the Order of French Pharmacists. “We had observed it a few years ago, when codeine was put on prescription and now we are moving on to something else. For about two years, we have been seeing this, anti-cancer drugs, so drugs often very expensive.
Health professionals fear a shortage of anti-cancer drugs and offer a solution: e-prescription, prescriptions stored on a secure server with a QR code. As for traffickers, they face a fine of 750,000 euros and up to seven years in prison.