Billions Lost in Health Care Fraud in the UAE

A study conducted by a consultancy group named Booz Allen Hamilton found that as much as US$1 billion (AED 3.67 billion) is being lost in health care fraud each year. Over-prescription of medicines has become a norm in the UAE as doctors receive a financial incentive for prescribing branded drugs.

The unprofessional actions  of the doctors lead to an increase in the health care insurance premiums that is borne by the residents. It is something that the regulators have not yet addressed and is leading to an unwanted increase in the health care costs.

According to the report, there is the practice of cost splitting as well where the doctors get a certain percentage of the total price. While these acts are not considered illegal, but doctors in public hospitals in the UAE are doing it at a large scale resulting in a great appreciation in medical bills for the patients.

Unneeded Prescription of Medications and Diagnostic Procedures

In the majority of cases, the ailments could have gone away without the prescription of the drug. Apart from increasing the overall medical costs, it also puts the life of the patients at danger of unwanted side effects.

What’s concerning is that the doctors are needlessly prescribing branded drugs instead of generic alternatives that are equally effective. The fact is that branded drugs cost 50 percent more as compared to the generic counterparts.

Apart from overprescribing, a large number of doctors working in public health care institutions in the UAE have been reported to use unnecessary procedures. For instance, it has been reported that as much as 30 percent of the diagnostic cost is being split between the doctors and the health care facilities.

The above factors have resulted in about 20 percent increase in the health care insurance premiums.

The worst-case scenarios consist of patients being sent to operations that they do not require only to gain additional revenues. These operations can put the patients at risk of injury and even death.

The problem is that the health ministry in the UAE has not taken concrete steps to prevent abuse in the health care systems. In fact, their silence over the matter implies tacit approval of the fraud being committed by the doctors.


Medical practitioners in the UAE are taking liberties in prescribing medicines and treatment plans at a scale that can only be described as criminal. The waste and abuse of the system by greedy doctors needs to be clamped down in the country.

The World Health Organization has reiterated that countries need to have strong financial and medical accountability to combat fraud and corruption in the healthcare sector. The incidence of health care fraud will increase if no firm and intensive efforts are taken by the regulators to eliminate the risk of fraud.

Individuals are advised to report to the health care insurer about the doctor's’ actions that seem to be fraudulent. Also, you should consider contacting a professional attorney, if you have suffered mentally, physically, or financially due to a medical procedure that was unwarranted for in the first place.