NEW DELHI: A day after the Indian Medical Association, asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “prove, deny, or apologise (for)” a purported statement attributed to him asking pharmaceutical companies not to bribe doctors with foreign trips, gadgets and women, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance waded into the controversy.
The alliance said that while the PM had a meeting with senior representatives of the healthcare industry on January 1, there was no “discussion on Uniform Code for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practice at the meeting.”
On Tuesday evening, IMA — the largest body of private medical practitioners in the country — had said that it “takes strong exception to the statement if it has really been made by the Prime Minister.”
The response was in relation to media reports that Modi had in a meeting warned India’s top pharmaceutical companies to “strictly adhere to marketing ethics and not to bribe doctors with women, foreign trips and gadgets.”
IPA on Wednesday said PM met top executives from companies, including Dr Reddy’s, Primal, Apollo Hospitals, Sun Pharma, Cadila, MedTech and Torrent among others but the focus was on discussing the future roadmap for the sector.
The IMA, in its statement, asked if the government had details of the companies “involved in supplying women to doctors”, why did it choose “to invite them for a meeting in the PMO rather than initiating criminal proceedings” against them.
“It is imperative on the PMO now to release the names of the doctors convicted or otherwise. State medical councils should initiate appropriate action if the doctors have been convicted of moral turpitude,” the association had said.
IMA said the purpose of the PMO meeting seemed to be to divert attention from unresolved healthcare issues, pointing out that the government’s health allotment has been stagnant and is around 1.3 % of the GDP