Expatica news

Portuguese police raid clinics claiming ‘ozone therapy’ cures COVID-19, doctors and nurses arrested

83ozone therapyThe Judiciary Police (PJ) today conducted a major operation targeting ozone therapy clinics. At stake are crimes of active and passive corruption, qualified fraud, forgery of documents, and wilful spread of disease.

This Thursday, in the early afternoon, three doctors and two nurses had already been arrested. As far as JN, the newspaper who first reported on the raid, is aware, the scheme would have damaged the government’s Institute for Disease Protection and Assistance by approximately 500 thousand euros. Authorities are still investigating the damage on the side of insurers and other health subsystems.

Around 50 members of the PJ were involved in the raid, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Order of Doctors. Search and seizure operations have been ongoing in medical clinics, homes and company headquarters throughout today.

According to a statement from the Judiciary Police, this is a fraudulent scheme for the provision of non-reimbursed treatments – ozone therapies – but which were billed as reimbursed acts, thus being reimbursed by health subsystems, namely the ADSE. The clinics in question did not have any convention or protocol with the ADSE and ozone therapies were performed by professionals who were not qualified to do so.

The PJ has indications that the suspects working at the unnamed clinic convinced users that ozone therapy was effective in treating Covid-19 and that it allowed them to gain immunity to the disease. With these “little enlightening practices”, the suspects exploited the “fragility and vulnerability of people afraid of the virus or getting infected”, said the source.

The PJ official stressed that the suspects also knew that “with the practice of these acts they can contribute to the spread of contagious disease, thus creating a danger to life or a serious danger to the physical integrity of the victims and third parties”.

In these clinics, dodgy clinical testing procedures are also carried out, “namely to detect infection of SARS-Cov-2, but without being licensed to do so or meeting the necessary conditions, namely for clinical management”, adds the PJ.

In the course of this operation there have already been five arrests – two men aged 35 and 57 years old and three women aged 32, 59 and 62 years old – “all are professionals connected to the health sector, who will be presented to the competent judicial authorities for judicial interrogation”.