DOLO-650 makers distributed freebies worth Rs 1,000 cr to doctors: FMRAI

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The Central Board for Direct Taxes (CBDT) has accused the makers of the Dolo-650 tablet of spending Rs 1,000 crore to distribute freebies to doctors for prescribing the medicine.

In the Federation of Medical & Sales Representatives Association of India (FMRAI) vs Union of India case, advocate Sanjay Parikh, representing FMRAI, said that DOLO had invested the amount in 'freebies' to have it prescribed, according to Bar and Bench (B&B).

Public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the court through advocate Aparna Bhat that sought statutory backing from the Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP). It stated that the right to health is a part of the right to life, and pharma companies should adhere to ethical marketing practices.

The central government has been directed to file a reply within ten days. It was being represented by additional solicitor general KM Natraj.

The petitioner further said that corruption in pharma marketing practices is unregulated in India. This is despite the country being a signatory to the UN Convention against corruption, the report added.

Currently, no law in India proscribes any such practice.

The plea added that such drugs threaten the patient's life and health. It also said that in this situation, the customer pays for branded medicines that are “over-prescribed” or “irrationally prescribed” by doctors.

It argued that giving a statutory basis to UCPMP will provide transparency and accountability in the process.

The government, however, released a draft UCPMP and invited comments from the public shortly after the hearing.

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