One of the world’s largest drug maker Pfizer was recently slapped with the huge fines by the U.S. government after proving fraud and criminal allegations.
Pfizer agreed to pay $2.3 billion to settle civil and criminal allegations that it had illegally marketed its painkiller Bextra, which has been withdrawn & this has been considered as the largest healthcare fraud settlement and criminal fine so far. The charges says that Pfizer’s executives & sales representatives had planned and executed many illegal schemes to market Baxter and other drugs like Geodon, an antipsychotic; Zyvox, an antibiotic; and Lyrica, which treats nerve pain.
The news also says that company was illegally promoting these products for the treatments which was not approved and was pushing it’s sales representatives to conduct tactics to dismiss the concerns about drugs like Neurontin & Baxter. It had also adopted many promotional tactics like inviting doctors for many consultant meetings and had provided travel to lavish resorts to improperly promote Bextra to doctors and made misleading claims about the drug’s safety and efficacy.
Does it Ring a Bell?!
With this incidence in backdrop we can easily guess what would be the status of developing pharma economies such as India where many big, medium & small players are competing hard to gain market share. If we talk to industry insiders we will understand sponsoring doctors for their trips, car & pay-tie-ups for prescription are regularly practiced in Indian pharma sales and many people strongly feel it is fair in their trade!
In India we can see all variety of doctors/medical practitioners, we can see medical practitioners who are well informed, less informed and some of them are not informed about any latest developments. So, this gives up many opportunities for pharma companies and its representatives to influence many doctors in their favor.
This indicates that pharma markets like India are clearly vulnerable for many such illegal and unethical sales strategies by pharma companies and with the latest news it has been proved that even so called reputed pharma majors are no exception to such illegal practice .
So, I am left with a question, will these developments rings a bell to authorities and government to bring out more stringent regulations to control such practices……