Times of India
04 May 2011
Aims To Break Doctor-Pharma Firm Nexus, Protect People
Patients in Karnataka are no longer guinea pigs for pharma companies. The state government on Tuesday banned clinical drug trials or research in all government and private medical colleges and hospitals. Ongoing clinical drug trials and research projects using patients as subjects have been temporarily suspended from Wednesday.
The government took this decision to curb the connivance of doctors and pharmaceutical companies, in the interest of innocent patients. Announcing this decision, medical education minister S A Ramdas said: "Our state does not have any laws or guidelines to regulate these experiments. Doctors are being lured by pharmaceutical companies with various inducements. In one instance, a company sponsored the foreign trip of a doctor six times in six months. This is a dangerous trend. The ban is essential to protect patients."
The government decided to appoint a two-member expert committee to study and frame guidelines to regulate and reorganize clinical drug trials and research projects in all government and private medical colleges and hospitals. The committee will submit the report in three months.
Drug Outlets for the Aged
To improve the working of hospitals and colleges, the government has planned several reforms and policy initiatives, one being the opening of Geriatric Drug (drug marketed under its chemical name without advertising) outlets in all hospitals.
Explaining the rationale, the minister said middlemen were fleecing patients by branding geriatric drugs. "As per the Drug Price Control Act, a central law, drugs are purchased directly from companies, eliminating middlemen. It is costeffective, as it brings down prices by 50%. Middlemen are purchasing these drugs, giving a brand name and selling them at 15-30% more. This is being done by a coterie of middlemen and lobbyists."
Job Chart Vigilance
The government has found that many doctors are absenting themselves from work and manipulating biometrics to mark attendance. To curb this, it has been decided to frame ‘job charts’ for all employees in medical institutions. The doctors’ attendance would be verified and monitored daily and a review conducted every month.
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