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The truth about pharmaceutical marketing practice in India

Posted by plosmedicine on 30 Mar 2009 at 23:52 GMT

Author: 'Nagaraja' 'D.G'
Position: Dr
Institution: Sri Sai Apollo Superspeciality Dental Clinic
Submitted Date: April 12, 2006
Published Date: April 24, 2006
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

India is now the most targeted area for the majority of pharmaceutical companies, owing to its huge marketing potential (because of its large population and the high prevalence of infectious diseases, which require costly antibiotics) and also owing to the failure to enforce rules restricting the ways in which drugs are sold.

Drug companies frequently succeed in their efforts to lure pharmacists to buy more drugs than they would normally need, by offering various incentives and high-profit margins. The pharmacists, in turn, try to sell the drugs by unethical means, not only by approaching both doctors and quacks, but also by dispensing them, without prescription, to the uneducated rural public who approach them for medical advice.

In addition, I would like to draw attention to another very common disease mongering practice in India, especially in corporate hospitals, whereby doctors are paid by diagnostic and investigation centres for referals, which in turn lures the doctors into running costly investigations that are not needed.

I strongly agree with the authors of this article that motivating and educating both medical and pharmacy students about various unethical practices will be one effective step to put an end to such practices.

Finally, I would like to congratulate PLoS Medicine for a very bold decision to publish this provacative collection of articles.

No competing interests declared.