When whistleblowing saves lives!

The fraud scandal at the "Alte Apotheke" pharmacy in Bottrop, Germany, which became known through whistleblowing at the end of 2016, caused great horror throughout Germany. For several years, a pharmacist sold pure saline solution to people with severe cancer instead of preparing individual cancer therapy solutions for them. The pharmacist billed the health insurance companies accordingly. According to a verdict, the pharmacist did this in order to "finance a life of luxury himself and to play the part of a benefactor in his home town.

Whistleblowers provided concrete evidence

Investigations by the public prosecutor's office began as early as 2014, but were discontinued. It was only after two employees informed the public prosecutor's office again a few months later that it took action and had a sample of the alleged drugs tested by an institute. The result: the drugs had indeed been stretched. A short time later, the pharmacist was taken into custody. However, the former employees and whistleblowers were dismissed shortly before they were taken into custody.

Conviction of the pharmacist

The suspected pharmacist was sentenced to twelve years in prison in July 2018. He is charged with 14,500 counts of violating the Medicines Act and 59 counts of fraud.

Whistleblowing in this case likely saved more lives and stopped further actions by the pharmacist.

Through the HINTBOX, such irregularities can be prevented in advance. In addition, the EU Whistleblower Directive can protect whistleblowers from the aforementioned reprisals such as dismissal.

Far-reaching protection of whistleblowers planned

With the adoption of the Whistleblower Directive, not only are companies required to implement internal reporting channels, but whistleblowers are also to be increasingly protected from reprisals. If a whistleblower follows the reporting measures specified in the directive, he or she will enjoy protection against reprisals and discrimination. The EU Whistleblower Directive only provides protection in the event of violations of EU law. National legislators can also extend this protection to violations of national law. A key issues paper presented by the German Federal Ministry of Justice at the beginning of this year envisaged this extension. But according to information from the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper, far-reaching extensions were cancelled by the Ministry of Economics. The extent to which whistleblowers will thus be protected in this country remains open.

Whistleblower systems provide single point of contact

By implementing a whistleblower system such as the HINTBOX, central contact points for making reports can be created. In companies and organizations in which the definition of a contact person for reporting offenses or the implementation of a whistleblower system has not yet taken place, employees with knowledge about illegal activities are often left to their own devices. Whistleblower systems not only offer centralization of internal whistleblowing, but also help compliance officers to process incoming cases.

HINTBOX available in winter 2020

In order to provide our customers with the highest software quality, flexibility and data security, we have drastically improved the HINTBOX in recent weeks. Our development team is in the process of finalizing the HINTBOX so that our whistleblowing system will be available in the coming winter months.

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