However, law does not demand that donors or recipients reveal exactly how much money is transferred or for what purpose.
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
Scores of donations of money or goods to hospitals, health funds, patient groups and other organizations have been made during the last year by pharmaceutical and medical technology companies in Israel.
This was made public by the Health Ministry on Thursday for the first time ever, after a section of a previous Arrangements Law required that the ministry be notified of such gifts.
However, the law did not demand that donors or recipients reveal exactly how much money was transferred or for what purpose. The change was put into the law as a result of disclosures when patients' groups demonstrated for inclusion of certain drugs into the basket of health services a few years ago.
Dr. Yoel Lipschitz, the ministry's deputy director-general in charge of supervising the four public health funds, said that to create transparency, all the facts should be revealed. He explained that when the bill was in preparation, both recipients opposed the publication of sums and purposes of these legal donations, fearful that donors would be scared off.
However, Lipschitz said he had the power to require at least the health funds to report such information to him, although he could not do this for the hospitals or other recipients. All companies donate to numerous patients groups, even though the drugs they produce and market are not necessarily connected to the diseases of the patients groups. All the health funds get such donations, but not all the companies donate to all the health funds, Lipschitz said.
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