A recent PIL in the Supreme Court by the Federation of Medical and Sales Representatives Association of India has again put the Doctor - Pharmaceutical firm relationship under scrutiny. Without going into the controversy, we want to dwell on the best practices. For pharma firms, there is a voluntary code of marketing practices, in place since January 2015. The Indian Medical Council regulates the conduct of doctors through powers flowing from statutory regulation. But, how to address this rather unethical nexus? Especially where out-of-pocket medical expenditure is 55% of citizens’ total spending, compared to the global average of 18%. One way could be making it mandatory to promote generic drugs for the same treatment since branded drugs are much costlier. The government of India can set an example by promoting bulk purchases and distribution of cheaper alternate drugs through its distribution network. Sometimes promotion of AYUSH for chronic diseases can also help in promoting cheaper alternatives. No way can we undermine the value of the doctor’s diagnosis and the prescription. But we can work on easing the citizens’ pockets also.
How else can we achieve this? Share your views