Medical Criminal Law
1. What is part of medical criminal law?
The term “medical criminal law” describes not a clearly defined area of law. “Special criminal law” for those involved in the health system exists only in certain areas, particularly with regard to the provisions on corruption in the health system in force since 2016 (Sections 299a, 299b of the German Criminal Code). In addition, the provisions of the Penal Code (StGB) or the Pharmaceutical Act (AMG) apply to physicians, which are directed at everyone, but which develop their very own dynamics in criminal proceedings against doctors.
Medical criminal law includes subsidiary areas such as medical criminal law, medical law and medical device law. The term “medical law” includes all facts relating to medical care or treatment and in connection with those involved in the health care system.
Typical areas of commercial criminal law, such as corruption offences or tax evasion, can be directly relevant for doctors. In the case of disputed billing issues, fraud allegations against doctors are repeatedly made.
Crimes from general criminal law, which every law student already knows from his studies, are also part of medical criminal law. This includes in particular the accusations of negligent bodily injury (§ 229 StGB) or negligent homicide (§ 222 StGB) as consequences of treatment errors. Other offences under core criminal law that repeatedly become relevant to doctors are, for example, unlawful abortion (§ 218 StGB) or forbidden active euthanasia (§§ 212, 216 StGB).
As far as pharmaceutical companies are concerned, criminal product responsibility for drugs and medical devices is often the focus of criminal liability.
In addition, employees of clinics, doctors’ surgeries and pharmacies are often exposed to accusations of (alleged) violations of the German Medicines Act (AMG), which contains their own criminal offences.