In the recent “Bharat Ki Baat Sabke Saath” event, organised in London’s Westminster, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cited examples of various international conferences allegedly funded by pharma companies, where doctors regularly participate.
He had said that to end the nexus between doctors and pharmaceutical companies, which results in the sale of expensive medicines the Centre has launched generic stores in India.
“Doctors visit Singapore, Dubai to attend conferences; they don’t go there because someone is sick. The pharma companies invite them for that. To finally break the resultant sale of expensive medicines the government has launched generic stores where medicines of similar quality are sold at cheaper prices,” the Prime Minister had said.
Many doctors have taken exception to the PM’s remarks. Expressing their concern through social media and open letters doctors have expressed hurt and humiliation brought on them by the remarks.
Below is the letter written by Dr Ravi Wankhedkar, National President IMA and Dr R N Tandon, Hony Secretary General IMA.
Beloved Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji
The patriarch of the family always speaks about his sons and daughters with pride especially with the strangers. This is our culture. Indian doctors have brought international acclaim and repute due to their world class proficiency and skill. Engaging in small talk and maligning the entire medical fraternity in India with broad brush on foreign soil was certainly not expected out of the Prime Minister of the country.
The Health system of the country from where you commented on Indian doctors would collapse without Indian doctors. IMA expresses its displeasure on your unfortunate remarks.
We presume this is in no way connected with our resistance to the pro rich NMC Bill 2017. Doctors of this country are being suppressed and exploited by every means possible. The onus of the mess in Health care squarely falls on the successive Governments including yours.
· IMA has declared its support for use of generic drugs. The only hitch is the issue of quality assurance. The current level of quality testing by the Government is less than 1% of the total drugs manufactured. In such a state of affairs how can doctors betray the confidence of the patients and support the populistic posturing of the Government ?
· IMA has supported and espoused the Jan Oushadhi Scheme of 2008 . IMA hqs itself has an outlet of Jan Oushadhi drugs. We assure you Mr Prime Minister, the day you are able to assure the quality of all the drugs manufactured in India, you will not find the doctors of this country wanting.
· India has a robust price control policy for drugs. This being so why does the Government allow huge profit margin in the Pharmaceutical industry?
· Why is a pharma company allowed to price the same drug categorised under different names with different profit margins?
· Doctors of this country are in no way in control of the price of drugs or stents.
We wish to point out that your unfortunate remarks have brought disrepute to Indian doctors and India. To that extent the goodwill and trust invested in you by Indian doctors stands diminished.