The Income Tax department has triggered a fear among doctors for accepting favours from Pharma companies.
In a move that has triggered fear and panic among doctors , the income tax investigation wing has started unearthing an unholy love between doctors and leading pharma companies.
While it is public knowledge that many doctors accept huge favours for prescribing drugs of pharma companies, nothing much was being done. But now, the tax guys claim that they have unearthed evidence of a nexus between USV India, a leading pharmaceutical company, and doctors in Mumbai, Nagpur and Rajkot.
The evidence speaks of payments running into crores to few leading doctors for prescribing the company’s medicines.
The evidence came out when the income tax department carried out a series of raids at 20 premises of USV India and three reputed doctors in Mumbai, and one each in Nagpur and Rajkot.
USV India spokesperson confirmed the raid but denied any wrongdoing.
The Times of India quoted an officer of the income tax department as saying: “In the company’s records, USV has mentioned that the payments were made towards other purposes including educating patients.”
However, I-T officials declined to disclose the names of the doctors raided saying that the matter was under investigation.
All that they were willing to disclose was that “We searched the houses and clinics of five renowned doctors. These doctors are also attached to some of the big hospitals in their respective cities and are specialists in treatment of diabetes.”
The Medical Council of India had tried to cut the nexus between doctors and pharma companies by prescribing an ethics code which made generic prescription mandatory. That was in October 2016. However, the code of ethics remained just a piece of paper.
The Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP), which was again a tough legislation to prevent unethical deals and practices, has been hanging fire for two years.
Meanwhile, in a statement, USV India said: “We confirm that an investigation is being conducted… At the same time, we would like to reiterate that USV follows all prescribed guidelines and policies while associating with any medical practitioner in India. USV abides by the law of the land and will continue to fully cooperate with the authorities during the investigation process.”