Government forms 5-member committee to review pharma companies' practices

The central government has made a five-member committee to consider a ‘legally enforceable” mechanism for enforcing the marketing practices of pharmaceutical companies.

Government forms 5 member committee to review pharma companies practices
Government forms 5 member committee to review pharma companies practices

The central government has made a five-member committee to consider a ‘legally enforceable” mechanism for enforcing the marketing practices of pharmaceutical companies. 

VK Paul, a member of NITI Aagoy would lead the committee. The committee is assumed to submit its report in 90 days.  The government has made a high-level committee to hammer out a legal mechanism to address the issue of pharmaceutical companies giving incitements for promoting their drugs and products.

Who are the members of the committee?

S Aparna, secretary in the department of pharmaceuticals (DoP), Nitin Gupta, chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Rajesh Bhushan, secretary in the ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW), and a joint secretary (policy) from the department of personnel (DoP) are the four members of the 'high level' committee. V.K Paul will be its chairperson.

Five-member Committee: Significance

  1. It will examine the provisions of government departments to regulate pharmaceutical marketing practices and align interventions for implementation by the healthcare industry.
  2. It will also “examine the related topics on the requirement of legally enforceable mechanisms for regulating marketing practices, including the study of the practices across the world.” 
  3. It can look into any other issue it may deem fit on the subject matter.

What is UCPMP?

  1. The Universal Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) for pharmaceutical companies came into effect in January 2015. The UCPMP is elective and there is no legal penalty for violating the code. The Supreme Court is hearing an appeal seeking direction from the government to give the UCPMP a statutory basis.
  2. The code establishes relationships with healthcare professionals, wherein the provisions related to travel facilities, hospitality, and cash or monetary grants to physicians or their families have been detailed.

Background

The code has been accepted by all the major associations of pharmaceutical companies and the Department in various instances has reviewed the implementation of the code by the Pharmaceutical associations.

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