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id to legalize pharma cos sops for docs 

Drug Manufacturers Worried That Doctors May Miss Info On Latest Developments 

Rema Nagarajan TIG 


After banning doctors from taking gifts and sponsorship from pharmaceutical companies,the government seems to be backpedalling by trying to amend the medical code of ethics to legalise travel and hospitality sponsorship for doctors by pharma companies.
Drug manufacturers seem greatly concerned about how poorly informed Indian doctors would be without access to company-sponsored scientific meetings to keep them up-todate with the latest developments in medicine.This has so worried the pharma industry that the department of pharmaceuticals under the ministry of chemicals and fertilizers has sent a draft of what amendments should be made to the code of ethics to legalise drug companies sponsorship of continuing medical education (CME) sessions,that is conferences for doctors again.
Regulation of doctors and medical practice is the MCIs job just as making any amendment to the code of ethics ought to be.However,the department of pharmaceuticals seems to have taken over the job of drafting the amendment to the code.The department sent the suggestions for amendment to include sponsorship of healthcare professionals by pharmaceutical/allied healthcare companies for bona fide educational/research purposes to the health ministry.The health ministry forwarded the suggestions to the MCI seeking comments for further necessary action.The matter is under consideration by MCI but no decision has been taken yet.It is absolutely shocking.This is not what was told to Parliament about bringing about reforms to put an end to the practice of pharma companies bribing doctors.Obviously,the department of pharmaceuticals is acting under pressure from pharmaceutical companies to try and amend the code to allow them to bribe doctors.We will definitely be taking this up in Parliament, said Rajya Sabha member Brinda Karat.
Most of the hospitals/institutions in India do not have any provisions to send doctors to congresses and conferences.Appropriate support from pharmaceutical and allied healthcare industries will enable Indian doctors to get access to the latest developments in medical research which in turn will enable them to improve the level of patient care in India, said the letter from department of pharmaceuticals.The suggested amendments include allowing doctors to accept economy class air travel,travel to the venue of the meeting,meals,accommodation and registration fees from the pharma industry.
It also includes doctors being allowed three sponsorships for international congresses or conferences in one year from pharmaceutical companies.The amendment also suggests letting doctors attend high quality scientific meetings organised by pharma companies.
The suggestions refer to the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industrys code of practice,a self-regulatory code which allows association with health professionals for scientific meetings as long as they are conducted in an appropriate manner.
However,even in the US,the home of Big Pharma,many states and academic health centres have enacted regulations that ban companies from sponsoring such meetings.

REFORMS TO CODE OF ETHICS 




Dec 10,2009 | 


Code of ethics amended by MCI to ban freebies and sponsorship of doctors by pharma companies 

Aug 1,2012 | 


Circular of the Central Board of Direct Taxes making cost of freebies to doctors and the expense on this by pharma taxable 

Oct 1,2012 | 


Letter from Department of Pharmaceuticals,Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilisers to Union Health Secretary for amendments in the code regarding sponsorship of doctors by pharma 

Oct 12,2012 | 


Union health secretary forwards the letter to MCI secretary 

Dec 10,2012 | 


MCI appoints NK Ganguly subcommittee to prepare draft amendment on MCI regulations based on the letter from the Department of Pharmaceuticals 

Apr 2013 | 


N K Gangulys draft amendment,kept out of public domain,under consideration of MCI

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Delayed water plans bleed Maha by 27,000cr: CAG 

Sharad Vyas TNN 

Mumbai: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has slammed the state government over incomplete irrigation projects,saying they have led to cost overruns of over Rs 26,600 crore and delays that have gone beyond 40 years.
From large-scale and arbitrary increases in the cost of irrigation projects to violations of norms set by a high-powered committee to needless mobilization advances doled out to contractors,the latest CAG report has dug up more dirt on the state irrigation department,which was headed by NCP leader and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar from 1999 to 2009 and later by his close aide Sunil Tatkare.
The CAG report,which was presented in the Maharashtra assembly on Thursday,revealed that in 242 of 426 incomplete projects undertaken by five major irrigation development corporations,the initial budgets increased from Rs 7,215 crore to Rs 33,832 crore,a cost overrun of Rs 26,617 crore.TOI has in a series of reports highlighted how,during his stint as water resources minister,Pawar had hurriedly approved projects totalling Rs 20,000 crore during an eightmonth period in 2009 without the mandatory clearance of the governing council of the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation.From just June to August,32 projects got approvals.Following reports of largescale cost escalations,Pawar had resigned from his post as the deputy chief minister in September 2012 only to be sworn in again two months later.
The irrigation projects with cost overruns of over Rs 800 crore were Krishna Marathwada,Kukadi,Lower Dudhna,Nandur Madhmeshwar,Waghur,Lower Tapi,Shelgaon Barrage Medium Project,Bodwad Parisar Sinchan Yojna and Koyna Hydro Electric Power Station,the CAG report said.
It observed that in the Washim division,where two major and 81 minor irrigation projects were undertaken,an irrigation potential of 1,867 hectares,or 16% of the total potential of 11,483 ha,could be utilized.The high-powered committee recommendationgiving priority to projects on which expenditure incurred was over 75% and between 75% and 50%,and stopping those on which the cost incurred was less than 50%--was violated.The CAG report said the division spent Rs 313 crore during 2009-11 on 59 new projects.However,the committees norm was not applied on at least 15 old projects,leading to delays.
Among other strictures,the report said the decision by the water resources department and Godavari Marathwada Irrigation Development Corporation to award work without establishing the legal status of land for construction of a canal at the Lower Dudhna Project led to stoppage of work after incurring expenses of Rs 3.5 crore.It jeopardized recovery of the mobilization advance of Rs 2.3 crore from the contractor.

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