More than a hundred employees at the National Medical Center engaged in unauthorized purchase, administration, and trade of influenza vaccines, an audit revealed.
Rep. Kim Soon-rye of the opposition Liberty Korea Party disclosed the NMC’s internal audit report on “the illegal purchase and administration of influenza vaccines.”
According to Kim, one of the NMC employees bought 550 flu vaccines illegally and distributed them to other staffs.
The worker at the NMC’s health promotion prevention center, who initiated the purchase, and the other 102 employees at the same center bought 550 units of SK Chemicals’ SKY Cellflu at 15,000 won ($13.3) per unit, spending 8.25 million won in total.
Among them, 23 administered the flu vaccines themselves, without a physician’s prescription at other places than medical institutions.
The NMC workers broke the law by illegally trading and distributing flu vaccines, illicitly administering them, engaging in medical practice without a license, and conducting medical practice outside a medical institution. Out of the 550 units of flu vaccines, 424 have been retrieved, but 126 have been already shot, according to Kim.
Even though the state-run hospital had confirmed the serious law violation, it did not report it to the authorities but punished the initial purchaser and 23 employees who took the flu vaccine shots themselves. The hospital gave only a warning on 79 workers who returned the vaccines.
“As we are witnessing a series of ‘moral hazard’ at the NMC, it is questionable whether the NMC is eligible and qualified to lead the nation’s public health policies,” Kim said. “We need to thoroughly investigate this case and strongly punish the NMC employees, and come up with fundamental measures to restore the trust of the people.”
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