NHS officials who accepted £70,000 in bribes to promote prescription drugs visited GP surgeries to “switch” patients’ medication, a court heard on Thursday.
Paul Jerram and Dr David Turner have been accused of arriving at surgeries claiming to be on official business and changing a patient’s medication – a practice known as “switching”.
James Hines QC prosecuting, told a trial at Southampton Crown Court that the two men had used their positions with the medicine management team of Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and that if the doctors at the surgeries had known it was “not an official visit, they would have not allowed them to [make the changes]”.
“They were effectively using their position with the NHS to farm out the services of the medicine management team and they received money to do so,” the court was told.
“Switching” is a function carried out only by doctors or NHS professionals which relates to swapping the medication patients at a surgery are prescribed for a more cost-effective drug.
It is “fundamental” switches are only carried out by trusted NHS officials, Mr Hines QC said, but Mr Jerram and Dr Turner breached their positions to promote the drugs they were paid to do so.