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German doctors accused of boosting pay by offering “unnecessary extras”

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 19 July 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:114
  1. Annette Tuffs
  1. Heidelberg

    Some health experts and patients in Germany are becoming concerned about the increasing frequency with which doctors offer patients inessential diagnostic tests and unproved treatments. They say that these extra services are being offered more to boost doctors' incomes than to help patients.

    “These offers put the doctor-patient relationship at risk,” said Jürgen Klauber, director of the Wissenschaftliche Institut der Ortskrankenkassen (Scientific Institute of General Health Insurance).

    A survey published last week by the institute, which provides scientific expertise to Germany's largest health insurance company, AOK, has shown that last year about 18 million patients were offered these “Individuelle Gesundheitsleistungen” (“individual health benefits”), commonly shortened to IGeL.

    German …

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