38 brokers arrested for extorting money from vulnerable patients at CMCH using various schemes

The arrested individuals, part of syndicates operating within the hospital, were found to be extorting money from patients and their families.

In a crackdown on illicit practices plaguing Chattogram Medical College Hospital (CMCH), the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB-7) arrested 38 brokers across various wards of the hospital on Wednesday (20 March) morning for extorting money from patients and their families using various schemes. 

The operation sought to dismantle syndicates preying on innocent patients, particularly those hailing from impoverished backgrounds, said  RAB-7 CO Lt Col Mahbub Alam, who led the drive.

The arrested individuals, part of syndicates operating within the hospital, were found to be extorting money from patients and their families.

The arrested individuals were later presented before a mobile court where 14 received a fine of Tk10,000. Failure to pay will result in one month imprisonment, Lt Col Mahbub said.

The remaining 24 were handed down a sentence of one month’s imprisonment along with a fine of Tk5,000 with 15 days of imprisonment subject to non-payment.

Mahbub Alam highlighted the tactics employed by these brokers, which included exploiting the fears of patients regarding government hospital treatment inadequacies and manipulating them into seeking costly private alternatives.

According to Nurul Abser, senior assistant director (Media) of RAB-7, the syndicates have been identified as the Bed and Ward Syndicate, Medicine Syndicate, Ambulance Syndicate, and Test Syndicates.

They operated with impunity, luring patients under the guise of facilitating their medical care while profiting from commissions garnered through referrals to private clinics, diagnostic centres, and pharmacies, Nurul Abser said.

Furthermore, these syndicates diverted patients from accessing free government-supplied medicines and coerced them into purchasing medications at inflated prices.

The arrested brokers confessed to receiving commissions ranging from Tk200 to Tk5,000 for each patient they diverted, depending on the services rendered and the facilities utilised.

These revelations underscore the pervasive nature of corruption within the healthcare system, where vulnerable individuals seeking affordable medical treatment are exploited for financial gain.

Notably, the operation did not implicate any hospital staff in the illicit activities, highlighting the concerted efforts of the RAB to target external entities perpetrating fraud within the healthcare sector.

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