Reggio Calabria, suspended head of oncology and his help: “They gave experimental therapies without the patients’ authorization”

Reggio Calabria, suspended head of oncology and his help: “They gave experimental therapies without the patients’ authorization”

The investigating judge of the Court of Reggio Calabria, Caterina Catalano, accepting the request of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, directed by Giovanni Bombardierisuspended for twelve months from the role of head of the complex oncology division of Large metropolitan hospital, Pierpaolo Correale. Furthermore, the measure was also extended to the help of the department, Rocco Giannicola.

The intervention of the judiciary came at the end of a long investigation by the NAS of Reggio Calabria in recent months, called ‘Narciso’, condensed into around eight hundred pages and aimed at clarifying the management of the Oncology department of the largest hospital in Calabria . The crimes charged to Correale and Giannicola concern the administration of faulty drugs, material and ideological falsehood, abuse of office and fraud.

The investigation, in which seven other people are also under investigation, began with the complaint of a medical director who had detected anomalies in the clinical diary of an oncology patient. In the eight hundred pages signed by the NAS and the Prosecutor’s Office, telephone and environmental interceptions were poured into, “a complex expert activity, seizure and analysis of over 300 medical records, and summary testimonial information, it was ascertained that the two subordinates administered, between 2017 and 2018, 13 patients suffering from cancer were given drugs as part of experimental therapies and protocols in the absence of authorization or for pathologies other than those envisaged in the guidelines and without adequate consent from the patients themselves”.

In collaboration with the director and manager of the Antiblastic Drugs Unit of the Gom hospital pharmacy, they certified in the AIFA register prepared for “innovative drugs”, higher doses of the Nivolumab drug compared to those actually administered to patients and pathologies different from the real ones , in order to obtain, at the expense of the Treasury, larger quantities of the aforementioned drug then dispensed to patients without the requisites required for reimbursement of the drug”. Correale and Giannicola, according to the investigation, “carried out the aforementioned conduct for the purpose to disseminate the results of the clinical practices carried out by them through scientific publications, so as to increase their professional reputation to attract pharmaceutical companies and conference organizers”. The Nas carabinieri, again, found a fraud of five thousand euros against ‘pharmaceutical company Pfizer“which the head physician would have implemented in collaboration with another medical director, a psychologist and the president of a non-profit organization since a project for psychological support for cancer patients was being financed, which in fact was never implemented”.

Finally, the Labor Judge of the Court of Reggio Calabria rejected an appeal last October by Pierpaolo Correale against the decision of the Extraordinary Commissioner of the hospital, Gianluigi Scaffidinot to renew his role as head of the Oncology division of the city’s Grand Metropolitan Hospital.


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