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Health Min to take up unethical marketing practices of pharma cos with DoP

Joseph Alexander, New Delhi
Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Bringing back to the fore the long-pending issue of uniform marketing code for the pharma companies, the Union Health Ministry has said the unethical practices by companies were adding to cost of medicines, apart from inducing the healthcare professionals.

The Ministry may take up the issue formally with the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) to implement sterner steps to contain unethical practices by the companies, as DoP already had prepared a draft code for voluntary implementation by the industry. The Ministry may also suggest mandatory implementation of the code through legislation, it is learnt.

“Though there are no statistical and other evidence, the Ministry is of the view that the aggressive promotion of drugs by pharmaceutical companies through medical professionals in lieu of gifts, hospitality, trips to foreign and domestic destinations, etc., not only ultimately adds to the cost of medicines but also induces them to prescribe costly irrational medicines,” according to sources in the Ministry.

The views by the Health ministry may reignite the debate about the having mandatory code, which was also recommended by the Planning Commission some time back. The DoP had prepared the draft Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) to be adopted voluntarily in the first instance. The draft UCPMP was put up by that Department way back in July 2011, but so far no further step was taken to ascertain the impact of the same.

“Pharmaceutical marketing and aggressive promotion also contributes to irrational use. There is a need for a mandatory code for identifying and penalising unethical promotion on the part of pharma companies. Mandated disclosure by Pharmaceutical companies of the expenditure incurred on drug promotion, ghost writing in promotion of pharma products to attract disqualification of the author and penalty on the company, and vetting of drug related material in Continuing Medical Education would be considered,” according to the Planning Commission.


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abhay Mar 30, 2013 12:47 AM
Its good that Govt is thinking in direction of ethical prescriptions, but in the mean time Drs are now been catered by propaganda company (small mktg company )in very easy way ,leading to increase inRx share of these smallcompanies and the genuine products are suffering ..
so Govt has to see this serious issue..

S Ramachandran Mar 12, 2013 1:29 PM
Pharma manufacturers or their marketing company instead of offering gift or forgin toor or anything to Doctors they operate valuable trade offer upto equal quantity to the medical shop run the Doctor. It's another type of bribing the medical profession.
The health minister should take up the issue in this angle too
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