NEW DELHI : The government is tightening rules to bar drugmakers from offering expensive goodies to doctors, from all-expense-paid trips to conferences to watches, to encourage them to prescribe certain drugs, two government officials familiar with the development said.
Officials from the health ministry, department of pharmaceuticals and the National Medical Commission, among other departments, will define what is acceptable as a gift from pharma companies. For example, they may allow doctors to accept inexpensive trinkets, such as a company-branded pen, but ban paid hotel stays.
The money spent by drugmakers on marketing medicines to doctors has become the target of scrutiny after the Central Board of Direct Taxes alleged that Micro Labs, the maker of fever drug Dolo, spent ₹1,000 crore on gifts to doctors during the pandemic. The company dismissed the allegations as baseless and claimed it spent no more than ₹5-6 crore annually promoting Dolo.