Prime Minister Narendra Modi | Photo: ANI
File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi | ANI
Text Size:

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has warned India’s top pharmaceutical companies to strictly adhere to marketing ethics, and not to bribe doctors with women, foreign trips and gadgets, ThePrint has learnt.

Government sources said PM Modi met senior officials from top drug-makers, including Zydus Cadila, Torrent Pharmaceuticals and Wockhardt, in New Delhi on 2 January.

“The issue of unethical use of marketing tactics has been escalated to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) which, in turn, made calls to some top drug-makers and fixed a meeting with the PM,” said a senior government official who attended the meeting.

“The PM told drug-makers that their non-compliance with marketing practices is pushing the government to create a strict law. He has warned about bringing in a statutory provision, and indicated that the ministry (of chemicals and fertilisers) has been asked to start working on it,” the official said.

Top executives such as Pankaj Patel of Zydus Cadila, Sudhir Mehta of Torrent and Habil Khorakiwala from Wockhardt were in attendance, apart from the leadership team of Apollo Hospitals, sources said.

There was no response to emails and text messages sent to Patel, Mehta, Wockhardt and Apollo Hospitals until the time of publishing this report.

ThePrint also reached the PMO through calls and text messages for a comment but there was no response.


Also read: Modi govt plans action against US writer who said Indian drugs are ‘flea-market quality’


The report that led to the move

The move is triggered by a report published by NGO Support for Advocacy and Training to Health (SATHI), which suggested that medical representatives (MRs) — the people who pitch products directly to doctors — bribe them with foreign trips, expensive smartphones and even women.

The report said MRs have paid for “purchase of cars, international conferences, online shopping vouchers and even female companionship for doctors”.

The report alleged that “the ethics and values which were followed in the past are getting bypassed” and “often these codes are not adhered to achieve business”.

“Some doctors who give huge business demand women for entertainment and these demands are met,” the study found, based on the responses of MRs. “Such arrangements are done by a senior level management, and MRs are not directly involved, and are reserved only for the doctors who give enormous business.”

It found that “in many deals involving high value offers such as instalment on the purchase of a car; the company threatens the doctor of dire consequences if the targeted business is not achieved”.


Also read: Modi govt plans new single-window clearance process to revive FDI in pharma


Voluntary code of ethics

After the SATHI report was made public, the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), the apex body on drug policies in India under the chemicals and fertilisers ministry, pulled up the pharma giants for their poor compliance.

On 23 December, DoP secretary P.D. Vaghela also conducted a review meeting with three drug-maker associations — the Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA), the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) and the Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI). Vaghela pulled them up for not complying with the Uniform Code of Pharmaceuticals Marketing Practices (UCPMP).

However, the UCPMP, released in 2014, is a voluntary code related to marketing practices for pharmaceutical companies and the medical devices industry. It stops pharma firms from gifting sample products to healthcare professionals. The code states that each sample pack given to a doctor should be limited to the prescribed dosage for three patients.

It also says “no gifts, pecuniary advantages or benefits in kind may be supplied, offered or promised to persons qualified to prescribe or supply drugs, by a pharmaceutical company or any of its agents i.e. distributors, wholesalers, retailers etc.”.

The code is applicable not just to healthcare professionals but also their family members. It also says “companies or their associations shall not extend any travel facility inside the country or outside including rail, air, ship, cruise tickets, paid vacations, etc. to healthcare professionals and their family members for vacation or for attending press conferences”.


Also read: India could soon find all its ‘missing million’ TB patients — highest-ever detection in 2019


 

ThePrint is now on Telegram. For the best reports & opinion on politics, governance and more, subscribe to ThePrint on Telegram.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

56 Comments Share Your Views

56 COMMENTS

  1. May be true, cause where there is a smoke, there must be a fire. Not all doctors, few may be there involved in the said doctor – pharmaceutical industry linkages of small Kickbacks of favouring the particular company. But, essentially the same drug must not be allowed to the market on different names by different companies with higher/lower profit margins which strains the poor public/ patients’ pocket. In the same way the problem is in health/mediclaim insurance policies which are many numbers of different companies & different policies with lot of exclusives and hidden T & C etc. etc. that we can come to know only when we face practically cashless/reimbursement facilities of the policy you/we have.
    Many laws pertain to insurance & medicine, policy writing & manufacturing & marketing to be essentially initiated & amended.

  2. May be true, cause where there is a smoke, there must be a fire. Not all doctors, few may be there involved in the said doctor – pharmaceutical industry linkages of Kickbacks of favouring the particular company. But, essentially the same drug must not be allowed to the market on different names by different companies with higher/lower profit margins which strains the poor public/ patients’ pocket. In the same way the problem is in health/mediclaim insurance policies which are many numbers of different companies & different policies with lot of exclusives and hidden T & C etc. etc. that we can come to know only when we face practically cashless/reimbursement facilities of the policy you/we have.
    Many laws pertains to insurance & medicine policy writing/ manufacturing & marketing to be essentially initiated & amended.

  3. It’s a open secret that government hospitals in our nation purchasing very inferior quality medicines like tablets, capsules & syrup. A set of North Indian base medical companies only can this orders. Health secretaries, Ministers, heavely bribed by those pharm companies. But a Prime Minister of a nation should not talk like this. Because if PM have evidence or matter of doubt he should take stern action rather then dirty speach. It’s very obvious that our Pharma companies should only cover and support our PM, because of huge money involved.

  4. There was no discussion on the uniform code for pharmaceutical marketing practices in the meeting. The industry body reacted to media reports that said the Prime Minister had warned India’s top pharmaceutical companies to strictly adhere to marketing ethics, and not to bribe doctors with women, foreign trips and gadgets. In a separate statement, the Delhi Medical Association (DMA) condemned the Indian Medical Association (IMA) for reportedly demanding that PM Modi must “prove” charges against the doctors or “apologize”.The DMA slammed the national medical body for “unnecessarily” criticizing PM Modi and cited the clarification from IPA that no such discussion took place during the meeting. “The statement issued by the Association of Pharmaceutical Companies has clarified that no such discussion took place at all in the meeting. It is very deplorable that few IMA office-bearers for their political compulsions are carrying out a defamatory campaign against our Hon’ble PM which is against the national interest. This is from 👆From Health Ministry official.

    We the office Bearers and Past Presidents of Delhi Medical Association Strongly Condemn the Press Statement issued by IMA OFFICE unnecessarily criticizing our Hon’ble PM in the Fake, Concocted controversy of making commends about Medical Profession in a meeting with CEO of Pharmaceuticals.
    The statement issued by the Association of Pharmaceutical Companies has clarified that no such discussion took place at all in the meeting.
    It is very deplorable that few IMA office Bearers for their political Compulsions are carrying out a defamatory campaign against our Hon’ble PM which is against the National Interest.
    On the Contrary Hon’ble PM has discussed with top people in the Health Care industry about steps needed to take Indian Health care to a new level in the coming years for the benefit of our Citizens.
    We Applaud the Efforts of Our PM in reducing prices of Drugs, Stents, implants, opening Jan Aushdi Kendras and bringing AYUSMAN BHARAT for Welfare of our Nation.

    Dr .B B Wadhwa President Elect DMA
    Dr.Harish Gupta Past President DMA
    Dr SC L Gupta Past President DMA.
    Dr. Ashwani Goyal Past President DMA.

  5. It is interesting to expose how many pharma companies are owned or funded by leaders. How many hospitals, medical colleges are owned by MPs/leader. Then talk about ethics.
    This problem is just one symptom of a bigger social disease with which every individual is suffering not knowing about it.

  6. Ensure that doctors prescribe the medicine by its chemical name, not by brand name. Any violator’s licence should be cancelled.

    No private hospital should be allowed to have any medical shop.

    Increase government run generic medicines shops.

  7. Its True. Doctors & Pharma companies are business points only. They are like advocates. They just want cases to make money with our considering health & financial burdens of patients.

  8. Many journos are also in this category. They take bottles, a flat in a posh area and occasionally some cash. They will sell their mother for those bribes, country is nothing to them.

  9. Introduction of PharmD doctors to all hospitals and clinics will solve this problem to certain extent like US,Australia, Germany etc.

  10. Modi alone cannot eradicate corruption. We must ensure that laws must be enforced strictly. As far as possible, avoid medicines and adapt healthy lifestyle. Promote govt hospitals and improve their quality.

  11. We need a separate ministry so that poor gets access to all kind of medical facility for all kind of diseases. Corporate hospitals, Insurance companies and medical companies are just ruining the life’s of many. Requesting PMO office to initiate actions such that all these practice are immediately stopped.

  12. Sir it’s true that our PMO office is right in the above mentioned subject. The best way to stop is
    1. Government should take over the medical shops in the hospital premises and to be strictly run under the guidelines of government.
    2. Due to medical insurances, Both Doctors as well as insurance companies work in hand once patient is admitted. Need to crack the on going system.
    3. Free treatment even at Private hospital for the needy to be strictly implemented.
    4. Doctors working at Govt hospitals route the patient to the private ones which are often run by their own self or relation.
    5. Due to non availability of high end instruments and OT’s, people are forced to move to private. Govt need to initiate actions such that each and every kind of operations as well as medicine should be available with Govt hospitals.

    We request our respected PM to spend his precious time to get this major burning concerns being immediately sorted. People are badly in need of PMs intervention on the following subject.

  13. This statement by a responsible person like Modi will send a wrong message in masses. People will think that all the doctors are provided with women. It’s a gross overstatement by a PM. He has this habit of maligning this profession , even from a foreign soil. No politician has dented doctors image in public mind so gravely other than Modi. There is darkness under all politicians bottoms and they should try to to do something about it.

    • I request u to go through the article once again. The heading is catchy and misleading. The report says that, “and not to bribe doctors with women, foreign trips and gadgets, ThePrint has learnt.
      Government sources said ” . And the same article also stated that “There was no response to emails and text messages sent to Patel, Mehta, Wockhardt and Apollo Hospitals until the time of publishing this report.

      ThePrint also reached the PMO through calls and text messages for a comment but there was no response.”.

      The scribe made this article purely based on a report by an NGO named SATHI where this allegations r there. PM just might have asked explanation on non compliance of govt guidelines. Use some common sense.

    • Kamble ji. Don’t be too smart.. Whole India knows what happens in hospitals n what’s the relation between pharma assists n doctors.. Medicals scanning centers etc.. Each doctor gets commission for everything..it’s true that not everyone is doing..but also true that at least 50 percent does it.. I’m sorry to say this..this is the only profession which is not ready to accept the negative side of it whereas all professions accept negative n positive sides of them.. Don’t try to politicize…no where article says as you are saying… Hope for best n support for good.. more than me you know the negative side of your profession..be honest

  14. Why are Ayurvedic and homeopathic, unani Dr’s allowed to practice ALLOPATHIC Medicine… Not only practice they also dispense generics of allopathic and fool atound common man… And unnecessarily refer poor patient to big consultants and enjoy commissions.

  15. Over and above Dr’s who doesnot hold relevant degrees also practice allopathic medicine, whereas they studied only Ayurvedic, homeo pathic, unani or any other studies, which is not directly related to modern medicine (Allopathy)… Why are these BAMS, & BUMS allowed to have exclusive allopathic practice, where they unnecessarily refer poor patient to big consultants and enjoy huge commissions from these specialist Dr’s… These BAMS & BUMS should be restricted on practising Allopathic with immediate effect

  16. All businesses, have their ways to improve it. Be it home appliances, electronics, or even sim card. The best salesman is awarded with gifts and trips. When the govt included health in consumer protection it has already recognised it as a business and patients as consumers then why cant the accept gifts if they sell the product? If u wanna stop it and talk about ethics then rewrite the constitution.

  17. Why India is not following either protocol based management like in UK or Algorithm based Management as in US?

    Corruption starts from citizens

    Every party who bribed ₹300 to ₹1000 for local party election, those only have won. Most of people accept money and vote them. No one gets arrested even though this is known by police, other govt officials.

    Next is education system. It is too much commercialised. No government wants to improve infrastructure in health and education.

    Education curriculum in govt and aided schools and colleges never teaches about life, happiness, team work, building business etc.

    If the doctor should not get anything, then all of them should be disallowed to do Private practice. Practically this is impossible.

    Modi Govt is at least trying to solve certain problems. E.g. Fastag in every toll minimises corruption to major extent. But alas it needs to be forced to everyone (of course a welcoming move)

    Like that regularising, systematising for citizens, of citizens like linking Aadhaar to PAN, Abrogation of article 370, CAA

    It is difficult to eliminate corruption as this has become normal to give bribe and get it.
    The only possible solution may be demonitizing all paper currency to digital one. Of course lot of people suffer but there is no other way. Just like making Fastag mandatory everywhere ( in a well planned manner with clear deadline and also some extension of time), when we totally demonitize all paper currency except for coins, no one can bribe in coins or accept bribe in coins, Even parties can not demand from companies or individuals.

    Probably this may end corruption in health care also along with all other areas and spurt in growth.

  18. Right said. But health and education is the most essential for the society, a healthy is can be made by both the profession only. Professional should be respected, and Nobel people should enter. Don’t comparmise with in any respect, the society is giving high respect to both the profession , in my view. But the professionals are comparmising. WHY?

  19. Pm Modi Sir I have small idea for development India ,
    Sir open one account for India & show the account number for all Indian’s because they can send money for India’s development in Military, etc

  20. Ok Modi Sir I have small idea for development India ,
    Sir open one account for India & show the account number for all Indian’s because they can send money for India’s development in Military, etc

    • Interesting idea. Does this mean no taxes?
      All who want to contribute to govt kitty can send money directly to one account.
      Point is, only very few people will give. And how will govt run its mammoth self and pay salary to its huge staff?
      Whether r not govt should exist in its current structure is debatable.
      However, your suggestion appears to be impractical.

  21. Please ban the practice of doctorsc open medical shops in hospital without any basic amenities. This would clear the unethical products prescriptions which will not be available in other pharmacies. Such products are available only in their meficals.

  22. I have been in pharma selling for over 25 years and this bribing the medical profession has been a regular practice . TN doctors are the the most intelligent and Most Unethical and Most Corrupt in the country and it is because of this I quit pharma selling as I was CHEATED and DUPED by a 3rd rate doctor taking money 25000 from my company for a conference promising business and DITCHED me after the event was over. First the doctors should not be allowed to run medical shops in their hospitals. There are lot of other issues

    • Medical reps too r bloody buggers. Corruption runs in their blood. Big womanisers. what morality u hv to ralk about doctors. first correct urself

  23. What government says has yet to be seen being put in practice. Hope one day common man pressure will make it to happen on ground.
    08-03-2017 Why has the Jan Aushadi programme not taken off successfully even after renaming It ?
    Why Prime Minister Jan Aushadi Kendra programme is handled by Ministry of Chemicals and not by Ministry of Health ? http://statetimes.in/epaper/UI/viewNews.php?Date=2017-03-08&PageNo=13

    30-12-2019 PMBJAP has failed to take off even in 11 years since Doctors donot write prescription by Chemical name :: Enforcing prescription writing by Generic name & Prescription Audit can do lot of good
    http://statetimes.in/epaper/UI/viewNews.php?Date=2019-12-30&PageNo=5
    Daya Sagar Sr. Journalist J&K

  24. Ist ethics should be made for every politician ,parties and judiciary who made this country corrupt.
    Start from your own party and judiciary, if poltician becomes corruption free country will automatically get corruption free.

    • Leave Dr , what about you, all knows politicians are born for corruption, your ethics allows you, you are highly educated persons, you have a goddesss feeling in the society, people’s believes as a 2nd God . But you are ……… Cheating.

    • Politicians are politicians. Argument that politicians are corrupt; they shd stop, is alright. Why say this? Getting corrupt or not is one’s own prerogative. Let us try to be noncorrupt..

  25. what about the cuts given to pathologists for different types of tests the poor have to pay a heavy price for the tests plus the bribery

  26. My question is what about the money collected by parties on party fund for elections …and how the party fund of these political parties keep on increasing…why the NGO is not doing ethical study on money of political parties. Politicians and party leaders collect money from Pharma companies as well is it not bribe ..??? Check with other departments and conferences. Where does the money come from. . Samples given to doctors are given to poor patients. Ultimately who is going to be at receiving end. Those are poor patients. ..

    • Madam, you can’t compare the health profession and education with other profession. I am as a pharmacist never allows my ethics to run beyond money. If you have the idea to ruin the ethics, then please leave the profession , do any other job. You can earn more money. Don’t blame others.

  27. After commercialization of medical education by government this profession has become business.Now patient has become customer and this is the reason everything changed.
    Why people don’t comment what is going on in other professions. The situation is worse than in medical profession.

    • Right said. But health and education is the most essential for the society, a healthy is can be made by both the profession only. Professional should be respected, and Nobel people should enter. Don’t comparmise with in any respect, the society is giving high respect to both the profession , in my view. But the professionals are comparmising. WHY?

  28. Nowadays, we can see Retail Price of even essential commodities like medicines,, Rice Masala, Oil, Namkeen, Sugar, etc .. are 100% higher then wholesale prices.

    Retailers are minting money. They are having 100% to 500% margins. During 2005, retailers margins use be less then 8%.

    Why is govt not looking in this matter. Modijee, pls make a law to fix maximum margin of 10% for all essential retail goods.

    This law will boom consumption>and exonomy will improve. Lakgs of jobs will be created.

    Due to high margins by retailers, consumers are buying less, even they are giving gaali to govt for not controlling prices.

  29. These are things some company do it unofficially or offline or not documented anywhere.even if gov makes compulsory ucpmp to all .these things will still continue since it’s not done by company it’s done by some of the extraordinary employees of the company.even there company doesn’t know what’s happening at ground level.so solutions is just not ucpmp it’s about controlling distribution channels where lot of things happen unofficially.

  30. In last 18 months i have made many complaints to Dop, OPPI and even PMO regarding unethical business practices by AstraZeneca but no action taken by any of them.
    I worked with AstraZeneca as a medical representative for 9 months only and forced to leave for not following their unethical business model, they misused diabetes patients data, paid bribes to medical professionals in lakhs and I witnessed all this but helpless as I am alone.
    Whole system is corrupt.
    Drugs and Cosmetics act 1940 lacking provision of punishment for both unethical marketing practices and unethical medical study, But government still only warning them.

  31. Thank You Resp Modiji . We need special Surgical strike in the field of medicine. The same thing happen in pathology and radiology

    • Like any other profession doctors(Mainly Allopathy) too are corrupt. Most of them are untrustworthy and will loot you if you are unlucky to be suffering from some illness.

  32. Pharmaceutical has to be changed from Ministry (of chemicals and fertilisers) and put under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

  33. Modi you stop bribing people to cause chaos and communal violence in India to try and make it a Hindu nation.
    HINDUSTAN KISI KA BAAP KA NAHIN

    • Are you accepting that doctors will be bribed in the form of women, Money, and Gadgets. And can you admit that the state health secretaries, health ministers are clean.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here