Pain in store for docs in Dolo tax evasion case

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Mumbai: It’s not what the doctor prescribed. The recent income tax raids on makers of the storied pain-relief brand Dolo are now all set to give some pain to doctors too. The National Medical Commission (NMC) on Wednesday sought from the I-T department details of doctors whose names emerged during the recent I-T raids on Bangalore-based pharma company Micro Labs, sources told TOI.
The letter by Dr Yogender Malik, member of the NMC ethics committee, to CBDT chairperson Nitin Gupta says any complaint regarding professional misconduct by a registered medical practitioner is to be dealt by the concerned state medical council.
Last month, the I-T department searched the premises and conducted country-wide raids on the offices of Micro Labs, the manufacturer of the pain-relief drug Dolo, on charges of alleged tax evasion. Sales of Dolo-650 skyrocketed during the Covid waves, and the pill was widely prescribed for pain-relief and fever. Concerned with reports of the unholy nexus between pharma companies and doctors, the apex regulator of medical professionals said it is “committed to bring ethics in lives of registered medical practitioners and won’t tolerate any misconduct”.
Citing regulations of code and conduct of doctors under section 6.8 of the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics), it has requested CBDT “to send names along with registration number and addresses of the doctors involved so that those details may be forwarded to the state medical councils concerned for information and necessary action”.Earlier, the ministry of health and family welfare had asked the department of pharmaceuticals and NMC to conduct a separate investigation into the “unethical practices” of the pharma firm. Mansukh Mandaviya, who holds charge of both the health ministry and of chemicals & fertilisers, is keen to curb unscrupulous marketing practices and unethical drug promotions, sources added.
According to media reports, the I-T department has charged Micro Labs with unethical practices and distributing freebies of about Rs 1,000 crore to doctors in exchange for promoting drugs made by the Bengaluru-based pharmaceutical group.
It may be pointed out that pharma companies are governed under a self-regulatory ‘Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices’, and the Medical Council of India prohibits gifts from pharma companies to healthcare practitioners. Over the years, reports of rampant unethical marketing practices and promotions have emerged, but the government has not been able to curb these malpractices.

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