Unfair practice: Profit sharing in pharma industry continues to afflict patients

Medical professionals, including doctors, also urge promoters to tap into new pharmaceutical companies entering market


Our Correspondent April 03, 2013
The medicine business is more profitable than any other in the country. The actual price of a medicine might be Rs30, but the patient could be paying Rs230 – a 70% increase. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR:


The pharmaceutical industry is lucrative not only for manufacturers, but also for medical practitioners who prescribe certain drugs to unsuspecting patients in exchange for expensive gifts.


“The medicine business is more profitable than any other in the country. The actual price of a medicine might be Rs30, but the patient could be paying Rs230 – a 70% increase. The additional profit is shared by a number of people,” Shahid Khan, manager of a pharmaceutical company, told The Express Tribune.

According to him, medicine promoters are at the heart of this anomaly. It is they who buy medicines directly from the manufacture and then hire the services of medical representatives and share a percentage with doctors, said Shahid.

Medical professionals, including doctors, also urge promoters to tap into new pharmaceutical companies entering the market.



A medical representative not wishing to reveal his name claimed senior doctors often ask for expensive gifts in return for prescribing new medicines. He said the doctors may get laptops, plane tickets, office furniture and mobile phones among other things.

“We are given a specific target to complete in limited time. If we fail, our job security could be threatened,” said the representative. “Apart from the monthly salary, we have a specific share in the supply of drugs to the market.”

Another pharmaceutical company manager, Muhammad Ali said the provincial quality control board is unable to ensure quality due to lack of government oversight. “So if for instance, a syringe is said to have a capacity of 100ml, it may or may not be accurate,” added Muhammad.

Chief Drug Inspector at the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Health Directorate, Sabir Ali said manufacturing and distribution of medicines are carried out under the Drug Act, 1940, which was later amended in 1976.

“After the 18th Amendment, all health matters come under the jurisdiction of the provincial government and we have taken a number of steps to control the supply of spurious drugs. Retail prices are printed on the packs,” Ali said.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 3rd, 2013.

COMMENTS (1)

Abdullah Khan | 8 years ago | Reply

Yes it is true but the Government institutions are Responsible.In our KP province the Drug Inspectors and Specially HRA complete Structure is Involved. The present Chairman Of HRA is not fit for the post. The Admn officer is Running the Affairs. In HrA PPP district organization formed his office in previous government. The Organization Recurited relatives of PPp districts heads and the Health department chiefs Relatives. Now all are officers of HRA. They have no office. They rented Houses for 3 ,4 months and than shifting their offices to another Rented houses. The chief secertry is Requested to interfere in the Affair of HRA. NAB should also Visit the field. There are 1000s of illigal Clinics,Labs,Even hospital without doctors (non registerd MD doctors).

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