If you thought scalpers selling overpriced tickets to concerts and sports games in the United States were bad, China’s hospital scalper situation should downright horrify you.
Since most big hospitals in the country require patients to purchase registration tickets to be seen for nonemergency treatment, scalpers often scoop up the tickets so that they can sell them at inflated prices.
The situation is reportedly worse in major city hospitals, where many people who live in outlying areas go for specific services or a better quality of care that they believe their local hospitals don’t offer, reports the New York Times.
A video recorded last Tuesday by a patient at Guang’anmen Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital in Beijing of an woman upset about ticket scalpers has shined a light on the unscrupulous practice. In the clip, which has since been shared over 100,000 times since being posted to Weibo on Monday, the woman shouts at the people in line with her for wanting to purchase tickets worth 300 renminbi ($46) to sell for 4,500 renminbi ($688).
“My God, for average people to see a doctor takes so much money, so much energy,” she shouts in the video.
Hospitals in China are notorious for the difficulty posed to average people since even simple procedures may require bribes or the leveraging of connections, reports the Epoch Times.
In response to the woman’s accusations that their employees were colluding with ticket scalpers, Guang’anmen Hospital issued a statement on Tuesday denying there was any evidence that their security guards were involved in the scheme and calling the woman’s claims “groundless.”
However, police found seven suspected scalpers at Guang’anmen Hospital on Monday and detained four after public backlash from the video, reports Shanghai Daily. They also arrested five other alleged scalpers at Peking Union Medical College Hospital and Xuanwu Hospital.
A friend of the woman’s told the Beijing Youth Daily that after the video went viral the woman received threatening phone calls from scalpers.
The woman, whose name has not been reported, and her ailing mother reportedly live on a modest budget and rent a basement room near the hospital for 130 renminbi ($20) a day. She carried her mother on her back to the hospital.
“My mother is still ill and paralyzed in bed,” she said. “I need to take care of her and only wish to get her properly treated. I don’t want that much attention.”