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HomeCentral GovernmentGovernment forms committee to regulate marketing practices of pharma companies

Government forms committee to regulate marketing practices of pharma companies

New Delhi : The Income Tax Department revelation of the Micro-Lab distributing freebies to doctors upto the tune of Rs.1,000 crores has led the government to form a five-member high-level committee headed by NITI Aayog member (health) V K Paul to study a legal mechanism to regulate the marketing and promotional activities of the pharmaceutical industry in the country. The other committee members include S Aparna, secretary of the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Rajesh Bhushan, secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and Nitin Gupta, chairman of Central Board of DirectTaxes (CBDT) as members and a joint secretary (policy) from the DoP as its member secretary.
 
It may be noted that currently the various pharmaceutical associations in the country have adopted the Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP), put forward by the DoP as a code of ethics for the industry since 2015. The UCPMP is not enforceable under any law or statute of the government, said an official memorandum in connection to the setting up of the high-level Committee.
  
In August, a division bench of Supreme Court has asked the Central Government to file its response on the matter, in a petition filed by the Federation of Medical and Sales Representatives Association of India (FMRAI) seeking establishment of a Statutory Code of ethical marketing for the pharmaceutical industry with provisions for penal actions against violators.
 
According to news reports, the division bench comprising Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice A S Bopanna took a serious note on the arguments by the petitioners which took up the recent findings of the Income Tax Department regarding alleged distribution of freebies got medical professionals by a company to promote Dolo 650, a combination it allege as an irrational one.