Dept. of Pharma CODE and PROMOTION

DoP CODE & PROMOTION

From Pharmabiz online

P A Francis
Wednesday, June 15, 2011, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

After more than two years of debate, the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) has come out with a Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices early this month to curb the unethical practices of bribing doctors by pharma companies. The code is going to be a voluntary one initially and the Department will be tracking its implementation by the companies and the industry associations over a  period of six months. If it finds the implementation of the code is not satisfactory, the Department is expected to make the same a statutory code. As per the terms of the code, no gifts, pecuniary advantages or benefits in kind may be supplied, offered or promised to persons qualified to prescribe or supply by a pharmaceutical company. Gifts for the personal benefit of healthcare professionals also not be offered or provided. The Department has not been taking initiatives to curb the practice of bribing doctors for several years and started acting only after a series of media reports two years ago. The Department had first urged the industry associations to come out with some solutions to the issue. The associations such as IDMA and OPPI have been hesitant to take up the matter seriously as many of their members have been indulging in this practice. However, both had prepared some voluntary codes of marketing and claimed to have circulated among their members. But , nothing came out of such half hearted efforts by the industry bodies as there was no pressure on companies from the associations.

It is now known to many that a major part of the price of the prescription drug is on account of the loading of promotional costs. What percentage of the cost of medicine is promotional expenditure is not clearly known and is not disclosed by most companies. However, it is believed that promotional expenditure constitutes almost 25 per cent cost of prescription drugs. For the pharma companies, increase in prescriptions will decide the sales growth and profits whereas for doctors, dependability of companies on them, bring unlimited returns by way of incentives for prescription. Decades ago, these promotional expenditures used to be in the form of some small gifts, useful to the practice of the medical profession. But, today promotion turned out to be large cash payments, expensive gifts and sponsoring of pleasure trips to the doctors. Such expenditures to thousands of doctors in the country will obviously mean a huge burden on pharma companies necessitating to shift it on to drug prices. With direct price control almost non existing on more than 500 drugs marketed in the country, a check on huge promotion costs could be a great relief to millions of patients in the country. What is to be seen, however, is how effectively DoP is going to monitor the code on the companies without it being made mandatory. Sooner or later, the code has to be made into a law if it has to work.

If this works, it will be a boon to the people falling sick in India – BUT I HAVE MY DOUBTS WHETHER THIS WILL WORK – UNLESS EVERYONE WORKS TOWARDS ERADICATING CORRUPTION AND HAVE A RAMRAJYA NOT SONIA-RAJYA.

DoP has still not succeeded in removing banned  drugs from the market! 😦

All our laws are becoming paper-tigers

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: