4 SNUH doctors, 1 private practitioner under investigation over collective walkout

Five doctors, including four affiliated with Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH), are currently under investigation for alleged medical law violations in connection with collective medical walkouts, a senior official said Monday. The investigation was launched after complaints from the health ministry and consumers accused them of denying medical services as part of collective action by doctors in response to the recent hike in medical school admission quotas, Woo Jong-soo, head of the National Office of Investigation, said. Last Monday, senior doctors at SNUH and three of its affiliated hospitals went on an indefinite strike, demanding that the government reconsider the medical school quota hike, only to withdraw it on the fifth day amid public outcry. Also last week, some community doctors nationwide suspended services for a day in their collective action protesting the medical reform. The five doctors under probe include four affiliated with SNUH in central Seoul and Bundang, south of Seoul, as well as one neighborhood practitioner. Separately, police have booked 119 individuals for investigation, including 82 doctors, in connection with the alleged exchange of kickbacks between doctors and drugmakers. Police have been looking into allegations that drugmakers, including Korean Drug, bribed doctors to prescribe their products in return for kickbacks. Of those booked, nine individuals, including four doctors, have been referred to prosecutors for potential indictment, while suspicions have been dropped for another 13 individuals. Investigations are still under way for the remaining 97 individuals, including 77 doctors, Woo said. Source: Yonhap News Agency