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September 18, 2019

Unethical marketing of medicines no more acceptable: Dr Zafar Mirza


September 18, 2019

KARACHI: State Minister for National Health Services Dr. Zafar Mirza has said promotion of healthcare products is the legitimate right of pharmaceutical companies under prescribed rules but unfortunately it is done by offering unprecedented incentives to healthcare professionals and their associations and the companies pass this cost to the consumers, which is unacceptable.

“The cost of healthcare is on the rise as the pharmaceutical companies are passing on the cost of promotion of their products, paid to the healthcare professionals and their associations, both in cash and kind to the consumer.

Promotion of products is pharmaceutical companies’ legitimate right but not at the cost of patients”, Dr. Mirza said while speaking at the first meeting of a working group to discuss “Issues and Strategies for Ethical Marketing of Medicines”, at Ministry of National Health Services on Monday.

The working group comprising Director General Health Dr. Asad Hafeez, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) Dr. Asif Rauf, Ex-Chairman Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) Prof. Iqbal Bhutta, pharmacist Ayyaz Kiani and others were selected by Dr. Zafar Mirza to review the unethical marketing of medicines. Renowned psychiatrist and former Vice Chancellor of University of Health Sciences Prof Malik Mobashir, professor of medicine Prof. Eice Muhammad, representatives from local and multinational pharmaceutical industry and the media are also part of the working group to assess the adequacy of existing regulations for ethical promotion and marketing of medicines and to develop strategic interventions to improve the situation.

The State Health Minister said unethical marketing of medicines has now even become unbearable for the pharmaceutical sector who are now looking towards the regulators to curb this menace. He said the pharmaceutical companies are passing the cost of providing funds and incentives to the healthcare professionals, to the patients, resulting in increasing expenses of healthcare. The Chief Executive Officer of the DRAP said it has no control over healthcare professionals and the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council could play an important role.

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