Date: 14-Jan-2020

PM Modi meets chiefs of top pharma companies, asks them to follow ethical marketing practices

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 1 met chiefs of top pharma companies, hospitals and medical device makers to deliberate on issues and future roadmap for progress. The meeting comes amid concerns related to unpredictable regulatory environment impacting growth and unethical manufacturing and marketing practices maligning the image of local pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. The meeting was attended by top executives from the industry including Pankaj Patel of Zydus Cadila, Sudhir Mehta of Torrent, Rajiv Modi of Cadila Pharma, Habil Khorakiwala from Wockhardt. Shobana Kamineni, executive vice chairperson of Apollo Hospitals, Satish Reddy from Dr Reddy's Laboratories and Pavan Choudary representing Medical Technology Association of India, sources said. It was organised by Invest India - the national investment promotion and facilitation agency. Sources said the deliberations included compliance with ethical marketing practices, regulatory structure and boosting investment. While the industry executives highlighted that uncertain regulatory environment is posing challenge for companies to plan their business strategy and sought policy interventions to boost investment in R&D, the PM reportedly insisted on companies to follow ethical marketing practices and maintain quality of their products and services. Sources said Modi also asked industry leaders to ensure the image of industry is not maligned and that interests of patients and consumers are protected. "It was a very positive discussion and the PM was really interested to know how the government can support growth," an executive present in the meeting said. Of late, the government has taken various stringent regulatory measures, especially related to price caps and trade margin rationalisations putting pressure on margins of the industry, particularly hospitals and other trade channels. The government is also concerned about unethical practices including bribes and foreign trips sponsored by companies to lure doctors to push their products. While so far the industry has managed to avert a law by offering to voluntarily prevent such practices, time and again reports of such malpractices have emerged.