OSAKA — Prosecutors on Thursday served a new arrest warrant on a former hospital director on suspicion of taking 800,000 yen in bribes from three pharmaceutical companies whose products were used by the hospital.
Kunio Morita, 69, who was director of the Hirakata City Hospital in Osaka Prefecture until March last year, allegedly received bribes in the form of gifts and entertainment from Shionogi & Co., Mochida Pharmaceutical Co. and Kyowa Hakko Kogyo Co. between October 1997 and May this year, the prosecutors said.
After searching the offices of the three firms, investigators also arrested Shionogi employee Shuichi Fujimoto, 52, on suspicion of bribing Morita, bringing the number of people held in the case to three.
Morita was first arrested Sept. 16 on suspicion of accepting 200,000 yen in cash in September last year from Hiroyuki Kasatani, a 41-year-old employee of Welfide Corp., another pharmaceutical firm.
Prosecutors are expected to release Kasatani, who was arrested on suspicion of bribery, on Thursday. He has denied the allegations, investigators said.
The prosecutors say Morita, who was chairman of the hospital’s drug-selection committee until June, received expensive gifts, including a golfing trip to Hokkaido, from several drug companies in exchange for helping them win the right to supply medical goods to the hospital.
Last October, the committee selected an electrolyte infusion product made by Welfide.
Separate investigations by the city of Hirakata showed that Morita and some 10 other doctors received a total of 3.7 million yen worth of wining and dining from 20 pharmaceutical firms since 1994 at gatherings disguised as “medical study meetings,” city officials said.
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