Study claims neurologists took pharma sponsored trip with South Indian actresses, Medical Council asks WHO?
New Delhi: Taking strict cognizance of unethical claims of a survey report that specifically mentioned about three neurologists from Mumbai, who were allegedly sponsored by a pharma company for a foreign trip with two South Indian actresses, the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) has recently sought details of the three doctors from the authors of the survey report.
Accounting for the intensity of claims made in the report that might harm the repute of the medical fraternity, the council has initiated an inquiry seeking details of the doctors from Mumbai as mentioned in the report.
Medical Dialogues team had earlier reported about a report that was prepared following a study conducted by NGO Support for Advocacy and Training to Health Initiatives (SATHI). The study was qualitative in nature and "50 In-depth interviews" were conducted with various key informants in six selected cities across the country. The study primarily focused on interviewing medical representatives with the assumption that they are the ones who are involved as front-line key persons on the actual field to promote drugs to doctors.
Thereafter a report was authored by Dr Arun Gadre and Dr Archana Diwate under the title Promotional practices of the pharmaceutical industry and implementation status of related regulatory codes in India. The report mentioned;
According to one senior MR with nineteen years of working in an MNC, "From Bombay three neurologists were sponsored for a foreign tour and to entertain them the company also sponsored two south Indian heroines. This company ranks number one in that segment. It is really pathetic to see that a pharma industry has stooped to this worst level of marketing".
However, it was repeatedly emphasized that not every doctor or every company indulged in such practices; there were good doctors and some companies that followed ethical practices, the report added.
The report drew strong objections from the medical fraternity, the Delhi Medical Association (DMA) had negated and condemned the results, calling them biased against doctors and an attempt to malign the reputation medical profession.
Reacting to the study report, the council has now written to Dr Gadre seeking the names of the three neurologists or the MR who could provide further information. Dr Shivkumar Utture of the MMC stated, "As a medical council, we are concerned about such practices that malign our community. If we get some leads, we can conduct a thorough investigation."
However, Dr Gadre informed the council about strict confidentiality and the qualitative nature of the research and did not reveal any specific details. He further added that the anecdote showed that such practices are happening.
"We understand the MMC's concern. But qualitative research is done with an aim to understand the trend. In epidemiology, even a single case of cholera is considered an epidemic. The MMC should take a similar approach," Dr Gadre told The Hindu.