Leaflets offering gold coins for paediatricians appear at Bengaluru event
Pharmaceutical firms in India are not allowed to offer any kind of reimbursement for privileging certain treatment over others, this does appear to have been followed as a recent PEDICON 2017 event. There were leaflets being offered at an unnamed company’s stand promising a ‘Sankranti bonanza’, with free weighing scales, stethoscopes and gold coins being offered as gifts.
The Medical Council of India prohibits this type of behaviour but it is the second year in a row where such leaflets have appeared. Last year, Bharat Biotech was linked to offering iPhone 5s for orders of 200 of its vaccines. At that time, it placed the blame upon multinational companies keen on disparaging its name in an act of subterfuge.
At this particular event, there was no name attached to the flyer and it can therefore not be directly linked to a company – except when directly picked up from the offending stall.
The event’s chief organiser, Dr Karunakara, strongly resisted the reports: “There’s no such thing. There are never any incentives for vaccines,” he said. If someone buys vaccines in bulk, they may get a reduction in the overall price…I have been a paediatrician for 18 years, and, believe me, there is no such thing as an incentive offered to doctors”.
The gold coins were being offered for ordering a bulk purchase of 100TCV, a vaccine against typhoid, alongside 100ROTA, a vaccine against rota virus. The minimum order to receive a complementary doubloons was an order of 150 of each.
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