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Medical and pharmaceutical criminal law

The lawyers at ECKSTEIN & KOLLEGEN in Munich advise, defend and represent both individuals and companies in the field of medical and pharmaceutical criminal law.

Medical criminal law

Medical criminal law covers, on the one hand, the area of actual medical treatment and thus, via medical treatment errors, for example, intentional and negligent homicide and bodily injury offences as well as failure to render assistance; it also covers, for example, the violation of medical confidentiality, the issuance of incorrect health certificates as well as violations of the Narcotics and Drugs Act. In addition, medical criminal law also covers the commercial area of the healthcare sector and thus, for example, billing fraud, breach of contract by physicians, and corruption offences in the healthcare sector. Finally, it should also be noted that conviction for relevant acts may result in the loss of the licence to practice medicine and that substantial civil claims for damages may be brought against the person concerned.

In recent years, the prosecution of physician criminal cases has increased tremendously. Some federal states have established special investigative units (ZKGs) to combat, in particular, fraud and corruption in the health care sector. These in almost all cases are located within the attorney general’s offices (in Bavaria: the ZKG at the Attorney General’s Office (GenStA) Nuremberg).

When it comes to the legal assessment of whether a medical treatment error has occurred and whether criminal liability results from such an error, many legal questions remain unresolved. The lawyers of ECKSTEIN & KOLLEGEN can provide an expert defence in this case. Since the findings obtained in the investigative proceedings are often taken as the starting point for claims for damages under civil law, the various legal aspects must always be taken into account when defending against accusations under criminal medical law. Representation by the lawyers of ECKSTEIN & KOLLEGEN in such cases is therefore always carried out in close coordination with the legal representation in civil proceedings.

The commercially-oriented subarea of medical criminal law is regulated in a different manner by a large number of legal provisions – e.g. the entire medical billing system. In individual cases, this extensive regulation can lead to several legal approaches being available for a successful defence. The lawyers at ECKSTEIN & KOLLEGEN also have extensive expertise in this subarea of medical criminal law and can therefore offer a factually sound defence at every stage of the proceedings.

Pharmaceutical law

Pharmaceutical law is governed by a large number of national and European regulations. Numerous regulations contain threats of sanctions for certain behaviours in the form of penalties and fines. When harmful drugs are dispensed, for example, homicide, assault, or homicidal poisoning may occur. There may be fraud offences against end customers and health insurance companies, as well as against statutory health insurance companies. The violation of private secrets and the commission of corruption offences in the healthcare sector may also be of importance. Finally, there may be violations of the Pharmacy Act, the Medicines Act, the Drug Advertising Act and the Narcotics Act. Similar to medical criminal law, it should also be noted with accusations of crime from this area that conviction for corresponding acts can lead to the loss of the licence to practice medicine and the operating licence, and that considerable civil claims for damages can be made against the person concerned.

ECKSTEIN & KOLLEGEN lawyers also defend in the field of pharmacy law at all stages of criminal proceedings. They also provide preventive advice on the requirements for a compliance structure tailored to each individual case.