• Mihaela PITEA PhD fellow within the project “Program of Excellence in multidisciplinary doctoral and postdoctoral research in chronic diseases” POSDRU/159/1.5/S/133377, UMF, Iași, telephone 0740.296.465


informal payments, gift, gratitude, characteristics, outcomes.


Informal payments represent a controversial topic, analysed in the medical literature in the past few years, but also present in the Romanian daily reality. In this paper, I aim at presenting the preliminary findings within a qualitative research on informal payments, which focuses on definitions provided by patients for this phenomenon, as well as on its outcomes upon the health care system. Thirteen persons diagnosed with chronic diseases took part in my research; they are residents of Iaşi, and I interviewed them in the period November 2014 – January 2015. I used a semi-structured interview guide. The questions of the interviews to be analysed were as follows: How do patients define the notion of informal payment? and What are the (positive and negative) outcomes of informal payments upon the communities to which patients belong? Respondents believe that informal payments offered to physicians are mainly in cash or in kind. When it comes to money, they use words such as bribe, stimulus, “little something”, sign of gratitude, sales and purchase agreement or blackmail; when they refer to gifts, the respondents use words such as “little something”, gift, sign of gratitude, gratitude or protocol. The outcomes of informal payments are mainly negative upon patients, the health care system and the community; the positive ones refer mainly to physicians, in terms of increasing their incomes.


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