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Dealers target youngsters in medical fraud

ILLEGAL dealers have discovered a new way to scam money by coaxing young people to buy medicine with their medical insurance accounts, giving the students half the cost before reselling the drugs.

The scheme allows young people access to cash from the insurance scheme, while the dealers also profit after selling the medicine to private hospitals, said an official from Shanghai Food and Drug Administration today.

The office said it would carry out regular spot checks around hospitals, but dealers couldn't be punished unless they were caught red-handed. He urged residents to report dealers on the bureau's hotline at 962727.

Lawyer Wang Zhan warned that dealers face up to 10 years in jail for fraud, while the young people involved could be fined for violating medical insurance rules.

Dealers are often seen walking around hospitals on Caobao Road and Haining Road, advertising their business to passers-by and pasting notices on hospital toilet walls.

They target young people as they are usually short of money and don't need to use medical insurance as often as older people.

Dealers persuade them to buy medicine worth under 200 yuan from small pharmacies where staff are unlikely to check if the medicine is really needed.

The dealers then buy the medicines at half the original price and sell them on at full price.

An official with the insurance supervision hotline advised people to think twice before making such illegal deals, as the insurance was also meant to cover their old age.


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