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Drugmakers, doctors, and the ethical code to keep a nexus at bay

GS Paper 4

 

Source: Business Standard

Context: The recent controversy over the distribution of freebies worth Rs1000 cr by makers of popular paracetamol brand Dolo has raised the issue of corruption in marketing practices related to the Pharma Sector.

In 2015, ‘Uniform Code of Pharmaceuticals Marketing Practices’ UCPMP was adopted as a voluntary code to keep unethical practices at bay.

Ethical Issues associated:

  • Doctor Pharma Nexus: Creating a kind of monopoly of drugs (E.g: Dolo) in the market.
  • Bribing doctors – through cash or expensive gifts.
  • Associating doctors into illegal practices: Drug tests, clinical trials, etc where patients trust their doctors and take part in these trials without knowing its consequences.

Measures need to be taken:

  • Making the Uniform Code for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) a legally binding code of ethics. Giving UCPMP a statutory basis – and making it effective, transparent, and accountable.
  • A stringent ethical marketing code needed to be brought in for the pharmaceutical industry.