Question Of Trust And Reliability - Eastern Mirror
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Editorial

Question of Trust and Reliability

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By Alemtemjen Longkumer Updated: Aug 23, 2022 12:24 am

We are all hugely reliant on pharmaceutical companies for production of life saving medicines. Thus, in nature pharma companies are presumed to be different from other profit driven ventures, as they have to maintain a critical balance between profitability and welfare of the people, especially when fixing the price of drugs. Pharma companies are always under pressure to keep prices of their products at the lowest possible level as not many people in our country can afford costly drugs, no matter how essential they are. In this context, it is alarming to note that a petition has been filed alleging that Rs. 1000 crore freebies have been given to doctors for prescribing a particular fever drug, exploiting illness brought on by different waves of COVID-19. One can only hope that the allegation against the pharma company is inaccurate and both the company and the medical fraternity will be found not guilty. Otherwise, the government will have to take strict action against the offenders for maligning such a noble profession for the sake of profitability.

The said petition contains various stunning claims, which, if proven correct, will highlight a way in which the pharma industry in the country is not operating in accordance with the law. Bribing doctors to ensure profitability is a heinous crime and every pharma company should stay away from indulging in such practices. As a matter of fact, a visit to wholesale pharma markets in various states will show blatant violations taking place in the case of drug pricing as various stockists are offering different discount rates to different retailers. Then the retailers pass on the benefits of the discount to customers as per their personal discretion and the range of discount varies from 15 to 40 per cent. This only shows that despite having a price regulatory authority, the pharma companies and their associates are making huge profits by looting the common people. Quite unfortunately, the pharma business has now become one of the most lucrative businesses in the country by going against its supposed altruistic nature.

It is a positive development that the Supreme Court has observed the issue as a matter of public importance. The apex court has indicated that it is in no mood to tolerate any malpractices in the pharma sector. The income tax department has also started an inquiry to ascertain whether any underhand dealings have taken place between the doctors and the drug manufacturing companies. As per estimates, the Indian pharma sector is expected to grow three fold in the next decade. But the said industry should not be all about profit and growth, it has the responsibility of serving mankind too, ignoring which the pharma sector will not prosper. It should be remembered that trust and reliability are the two main pillars on which the pharma industry survives. Once the trust is broken, the pharma companies cannot prosper. So, it is high time for these companies to revisit their pricing and marketing strategies, so that customers’ trust remains intact.

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By Alemtemjen Longkumer Updated: Aug 23, 2022 12:24:06 am
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