Colombia’s Comptroller General has warned criminal gangs are profiting from health service embezzlement, reported local media Thursday.
Sandra Morelli said a review of 70 regional health services had revealed a missing $543 million. The office is to continue its audit across the country.
“This relationship between groups outside the law, public services and contractors is very unhealthy and must be stopped,” Morelli said.
Colombia’s health system has long been beset by corruption, with insurance companies illegitimately diverting billions of dollars from patients.
The president of the country’s medical federation, Sergio Isaza, said last month that between 2007 and 2010 alone an estimated $2.75 billion had been embezzled.
Colombia’s former Minister of Social Protection Diego Palacio and former Trade Minister Luis Guillermo Plata are being investigated for their role in the ongoing scandal.