Days after the prime minister made a statement that the top pharmaceutical companies bribe doctors with women, gadgets or foreign trips, the Indian Medical Association(IMA) has taken a strong exception to the statement. The IMA, in its statement, asked the PM to deny or prove the alleged statement. They also demanded that the PM should apologise if he fails to do so.
A media release from the IMA read “Reports have appeared in the media regarding the purported statement by Hon. Prime Minister that top pharmaceutical companies bribed doctors with women escorts. IMA takes strong exception to the statement if it has been made by the Prime Minister.”
On Jan 2nd, PM met senior officials from top pharmaceutical companies, including Zydus Cadila, Torrent Pharmaceuticals and Wockhardt. The meeting was set up after non-governmental organisation Support for Advocacy and Training to Health said in a report that medical representatives of drug makers use unethical marketing tactics to ingratiate themselves with doctors.
Following this, the association also asked why the government chose to invite the pharmaceutical companies for a meeting rather than initiate criminal proceedings against them if it had details of the companies’ involvement in “supplying women to doctors”.
The ‘Telegraph’ has quoted the IMA national president Rajan Sharma’s words “ The content and language of this nature coming from the PMO is shocking… This does not behove the PMO.”
IMA has opined that the meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office seemed to be an attempt to divert attention from unresolved matters related to healthcare.
“It is imperative on the PMO now to release the names of the doctors convicted or otherwise,” the association said. “State medical councils should initiate appropriate action if the doctors have been convicted of moral turpitude.”
It also added that the medical body sounded sceptical about the government’s ability to prove the allegations. “If the surmise of the prime minister is based on unverified information, it is only appropriate that he apologises to the doctors of the country,” it says.
It also claimed that the government’s flagship healthcare programme Ayushman Bharat “is a non-starter and operates more in government hospitals where treatment is already free. The government did not make any “new investment either in infrastructure or in human resources”, it added.

Source: The News Minute,, The Hindu.

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