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Global Health Care Errors, Fraud Costs $260B Annually, Report Finds

A report released Monday finds $260 billion – or 5.59 percent of annual global health spending – is lost annually to health care errors and fraud, Reuters reports. For the study, the European Healthcare Fraud and Corruption Network (EHFCN) and the Center for Counter Fraud Services (CCFS) at Britain’s Portsmouth University, “reviewed 69 exercises in 33 organizations in six countries to measure healthcare fraud and error losses,” the news service reports.

“The combined expenditure assessed was more than 300 billion pounds ($490 billion) and the experts extrapolated their findings from Britain, the United States, New Zealand, France, Belgium and the Netherlands to get a global picture,” Reuters writes, adding that the WHO’s “latest estimate of global healthcare expenditure was $4.7 trillion” (Kelland, 1/18).

According to an EHFCN press release, the amount lost to errors and fraud would be enough to provide clean, safe water worldwide; beat malaria in Africa; enable all children to receive the diptheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine; and quadruple the WHO’s and UNICEF’s budget (1/18).

The Reuters article adds details about the types of health care fraud taking place worldwide and examines appeals for an international effort to control health care fraud (1/18).