Friday, October 23, 2009

One Doctor, One Medical Rep., One Week, but Two Microwave Ovens!

Series FRD/01/2009
One Doctor, One Medical Rep., One Week, but Two Microwave Ovens!
Last week I was down with fever and cold. I carried it on for 2 days, but then went to Doctor for the check-up. I usually avoid to meet Doctor since I think that Doctor always benefits more than patient. Anyways…it was a Thursday evening, the clinic was full of patients…probably due to sudden climate change. When my turn came, Doctor invited a Medical Representative (also known as MR) of a pharmaceutical company (who was perfectly dressed up with blazer, tie and Van Husain white shirt) to come along. Doctor requested me to sleep on Patient’s bed and he asked MR to shoot with the script. That reminded me a fraud witnessed me in first year of my article-ship (audit) services. Here I start with a special blog post series on Financial Frauds experienced by me, my audit colleagues and friends during my/their audit days.
So….I was a Junior Audit Clerk, but yes...favorite of a Senior Audit Clerk in our audit company. Being a new auditor, I was ambitious and always expected different audit segment in every new engagement. I was given task of auditing travelling expenditures. It was one of largest pharma company in Asia. Medical Reps working with Pharma Company travels heavily across the country to build market. The audit was aimed at verifying all expenditure reimbursements of those MRs. I assessed the process and internal controls followed by Accounting Department before releasing reimbursement claims. The brief process was as below-
1. MR to fill up Travel Expenditure Form and should take approval of Sales Director for his region and then submit the same to Finance for claim.
2. MR is always given cash advances for his expenses and allowances.
3. MR is given fixed daily allowance and reimbursement of expenses at actuals.
4. Allowable expenses include taxi charges, phone expenses, Gifts given to Doctors to promote products and any other legitimate business expense.
5. Gifts to doctors – Many MRs prefer to gift doctors with electronic appliances or a good Zodiac Tie. Gifts promots pharma company's brand solidly in the hospital and medicine market.
Now, I always loved to read "what expenses MR has claimed". "What has he eaten at restaurant?" "Why did he ordered 3 dishes of Chicken Hyderabadi?".... thought he must have invited his local friends for dinner, but cannot challenge such things in a capacity of the auditor. I used to read even laundry expenses…..what has he dry-cleaned – handkerchief or sox pair etc.
I was also drilling down gifts made to Doctors. After about 20 reimbursement claim vouchers, Mr. Pradeep Kumar Pande (name changed) (who dry cleaned all his inner wears everyday in a Five Star Hotel), claimed Rs. 19,200/- as reimbursement after consuming his initial advance. That suspected my mind with the questions – "how and Why one employee spent 20 K from his pocket?" "Why was he given less advance?" "Why he didn’t pay large expenses by credit card – I mean no sensible person would carry cash of 40000 while travelling.". I believe these questions must have triggered in the mind of Finance executive if he was a hardcore accountant. But then he may not be able to challange due to departmental barriers.
On further analyzing the voucher, I found that gift items were purchased on cash and that too with a rough bill. Questioning rough bills to Mr. Pradeep by Accountant, he told him that he did so often to avoid sales tax and thereby saving company’s money. Accountant thanked Pradeep.
But, while analyzing list of doctors who were gifted with electronic appliances, it was observed that Dr. H. M. Bangali (name changed) was given two microwave ovens in a single week by Mr. Pradeep Kumar Pande!! Now…that was the poor mistake made by Mr. Pradeep Kumar Pande, Jr. Medical Reps. During investigation and interrogation by Accounting Department with Sales VP, Mr. Pande confessed the fraud.
We were told by one of the good friend (insider) that Mr. Pande was physically slapped by angry Sales Vice President. J I truly enjoyed those gossiping.
The audit was completed after submitting specific remarks on reimbursement policy and internal controls in the Audit Report. But that actually triggered to frame out centralized purchasing policy of gift purchasing. Gossips were also chewed that few Medical Reps (ladies especially) that they get tired with heavy weight gifts and unhappy to carry 10 gift boxes. It was also heard that few MRs made tie ups with Chaywala to keep those 10 boxes or Junior Medical Reps were exploited by expecting them to carry gift boxes with seniors.
Fraud Summary LineOne Medical Representative of a pharmaceutical company gifted Two Microwave Ovens to a single Doctor/physician in a single week!!
I will sum up the post with a famous quote from Mark Twain (1835-1910) U.S. humorist, writer, and lecturer. -
“Honesty is the best policy when there is money in it.”

Disclaimer – As per Chartered Accountants Act, 1949, information obtained during the course of audit is confidential and cannot be shared or published without specific approval from the management. Writer of the blog is a qualified Chartered Accountant and only intend to share the fraud cases. The fraud case referred above should in no case be construed or perceived as specific to any company/organization/legal entity/association of persons/any individual. The purpose of blog post series on fraud is only for the purpose of brainstorming. Any action/inspiration based on this blog post which lead to any fraud, will be the sole responsibility of the user. Writer of the blog is a person with highest standards of ethics and honesty.


  1. Carry on Ambarish with interesting fraud cases.

  2. Hey Ambarish - Intersting post from you... Even I happen to be C.A and do agree that very often during th ecourse of our audits we come across such interesting instances... (Particularly for travel & expense settlements & even stock takes of FMCG cos.)
    Also great that you followed our CA act meticulously...

    Cheers!!! Mohit

  3. That's interesting buddy. I like to read the ways people make frauds.

  4. in my gujarat perticularly north gujarat teratory the doctor always wait for those kind of selfish mr's they always give them gifts and also sometime give them hard cash also i knew from my friend becoz he is mr in very wellknown pharma comnpany but regulation of medical council of india news in today's newspapers though they demand gifts or cash becoz the pharma company are also selfish what u say buddy and nice and active comments on live indian doctors

  5. I would like to know of cases like this more often. Thank you for sharing.
    Check this out too:
    Medisoft Program