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IMA slams PM Modi, says prove allegation on Pharma firms or apologize

Ayushman Bharat the flagship of the Government is a nonstarter and operates more in Government Hospitals where treatment is already free of cost

New Delhi: The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking clarification over his alleged comments that top pharmaceutical companies bribe doctors with women. The IMA also said that Modi should apologize if his remarks are based on unverified information.

On Tuesday IMA said “It takes strong exception to the comments if it has been really made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. IMA seeks clarification from the office of the Prime Minister if such a meeting ever happened and if so the remark is authentic. IMA has noted that the PMO has not denied the report,”.

The IMA, which represents over 3 lakh doctors, asked the Central government why it chose to invite pharmaceutical companies at the Prime Minister’s Office instead of initiating criminal proceedings if it had details of bribery by the companies.

The Association said that it is imperative for PMO now to release the names of doctors convicted or otherwise as well. The State Medical Councils should initiate suitable action if the doctors have been convicted due to moral turpitude.

However, IMA said it is skeptical about the government being able to prove these allegations, and that the purpose of the remarks seems to be to distract the attention from unresolved issues in the healthcare sector.

“Ayushman Bharat the flagship of the Government is a nonstarter and operates more in Government Hospitals where treatment is already free of cost. 15% of the money paid to not just hospitals but the Government hospitals is siphoned off by insurance companies. The allotment for Health care by the Government has hovered around 1% to 1.3% of GDP for the past years,” IMA said, that there is no new investment either in infrastructure or in human resources.

The association’s comments come after a report in the news website. Earlier this week PM said in a meeting on 2 January warned top pharmaceutical companies like Zydus Cadila, Torrent Pharmaceuticals and Wockhardt to adhere to marketing ethics, and not bribe doctors with foreign trips, gadgets, and women.

PM Modi’s reported remarks follow a report by a non-governmental organization, Support for Advocacy and Training to Health (SATHI), focussing on the subject of medical representatives bribing doctors.

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