Healthcare Fraud Mistakes Cost World 260 Billion Dollars Annually

01.18.10 | FL News Team

Fraud and error in healthcare cost the world some 260-billion dollars every year. That's the finding of a study by the European Healthcare Fraud and Corruption Network and the Centre for Counter Fraud Services at Britain's Portsmouth University. Researchers determined that just over five-and-a-half-percent of the healthcare spending of 33 organizations in the U.S., Britain, Belgium, France, New Zealand, and the Netherlands went down the drain because of fraud or mistakes. Researchers then took that percentage from the total amount spent globally on healthcare each year -- around four-point-seven-trillion dollars according to the World Health Organization -- to come up with the total losses for the entire planet.

 Experts say the total is enough to quadruple the budgets of the WHO and UNICEF, and control malaria in Africa. The types of fraud ranged from pharmacists and drug companies running up the price of medications to doctors abusing federal grants and patients making fraudulent insurance claims. European Healthcare Fraud and Corruption Network President Paul Vincke called healthcare fraud a "killer" because it stops healthcare funds from going to the people who really need them.