A possible conflict of interests has been identified in Healthcare Ministry. This conflict remains unresolved, as reported by Delna.
Delna reports that the state chief oncologist that advises Healthcare Ministry’s decision-makers also in parallel works and received financial reward from pharmaceutical companies that manufacture cancer treatment drug.
«In addition, using her official status, the state chief oncologist had also publicly advertised pharmaceutical products manufactured by her represented company. Healthcare Inspectorate has already launched an administrative case in relation to breach of restriction on advertising prescribed medical products. This administrative case is associated with the advertisement posted on Kasjauns.lv in December 2016. This advertisement depicted the state chief oncologist,» Delna reports.
It should be noted that Section 20 of the Law on Prevention of Conflict of Interest in Activities of Public Officials states that the head of a public institution has the duty to prevent situations in which employees of the institution do not end up in a conflict of interests.
Delna explains that although in the eyes of the law the state chief oncologist is not a state official, it is the duty of the Healthcare Minister to ensure that every high-ranking consultant complies with ethical requirements and maintains a spotless reputation. The minister must ensure that a person whose objectiveness can be questioned is not allowed to participate in or have any influence over decision-making processes. Delna believes it is the minister’s duty to cancel the decision to appoint this person as the state chief oncologist.
It should be added that the Healthcare Inspectorate’s initiated case shows that the combination of posts has created corruption risks – promotion of a single drug by the state chief oncologist influences doctors and society, and reduces patients’ freedom to receive competitive medical substances. The status of a state chief oncologist, which is prohibited to be used in advertisements by Cabinet of Ministers rules, adds greater authority to words in society’s eyes, as mentioned in Delna’s report.
In the letter signed by Healthcare Minister Anda Caksa, Delna is told that there would be reason for concern if there were reasons to suspect the state chief oncologist of working in the interest of a specific pharmaceutical manufacturer.
Delna believes that it is Healthcare Ministry’s duty to prevent corruption risks and threats to public health. «Good reputation and authority among peers does not cancel Healthcare Inspectorate’s report on non-compliance of the advertisement with regulations. Good reputation does not cancel corruption risks caused by provision of finances from pharmaceutical companies. In summer 2016, when the state chief oncologist began working the pharmaceutical industry in relation to cancer treatment drug advertisement, the Healthcare Minister should have made the decision to dismiss her from her post,» Delna states.