OSAKA — Prosecutors on Saturday arrested a former director of an Osaka Prefecture hospital on suspicion of accepting several hundred thousand yen in bribes from drugmakers to use their products, prosecutors said.

The Osaka District Public Prosecutor’s Office arrested 69-year-old Kunio Morita, former director of Hirakata City Hospital, on suspicion of taking bribes last September from drugmaker Welfide Corp. in connection with products used at the hospital.

At the time, Morita was chairman of a hospital drug-selection committee, prosecutors said. The committee in October selected an electrolyte infusion product made by Welfide.

Prosecutors also arrested Hiroyuki Kasatani, a 41-year-old Welfide employee, on suspicion of bribing Morita, who reportedly admitted to the charge. Kasatani, however, denied the charge against him, they said.

Prosecutors believe Morita may have received expensive gifts or been entertained frequently by as many as 20 pharmaceutical firms.

Morita continued to serve as committee chairman until June after resigning as director in March 1999.

The hospital was blamed for a malpractice incident in which a woman was misdiagnosed with breast cancer and had breast surgery in June. A municipal investigation that followed raised suspicions that Morita had been bribed by pharmaceutical companies.

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