By Ed Silverman
Health Department workers in West Australia have received $745,000 worth of gifts, business class flights and hotel accommodations from drug and device makers, many of which sell meds and equipment to area hospitals, The West Australian reports. According to documents revealed in Parliament, between last July and April 6, there 259 instances in which perks – including champagne, iPads, flights and hotel packages to Paris, Vienna, Montreal and Los Angeles – were accepted.
More than half of the gifts or trips were accepted by staff from the South Metropolitan Area Health Service, which is headed by Nicole Feely, a former chief of staff to former Prime Minister John Howard, the paper writes. And the goodies included return business-class flights to New Orleans and six nights accommodation worth $15,244 paid for by Merck.