Abbott’s Medical Camps In India: Genuine Effort or Proxy Sales Plan?
US multinational Abbott is under fire in India for allegedly using medical “camps” and a questionable “survey” approach to bolster prescriptions for its diabetic neuropathy drug, Surbex Star. Abbott has strongly denied any wrong-doing but some experts suggest it’s probably tough to delink the rub-off such activities could have on brand building.
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Indian pharmaceutical firms appear to have warmed up to the idea of making public their payments to doctors along the lines of those required under the Sunshine Act in the US. Physicians are also facing scrutiny in India over the unethical, so called “cut-practice”.
Abbott's decision to review the provision of free gifts to physicians in India has raised speculation that the company may be acting out of caution against a backdrop of growing scrutiny in the country and internationally against such inducements, which experts suggest more firms may be less inclined to pursue in future.
Pfizer has paid $60.2 million in fines and disgorgement of profits plus interest over violations of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). But the pharma giant avoided criminal prosecution and long-term government oversight of itself and its US executives by reporting bribes in several European and Asian countries to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) before an employee or third-party could allege illegal activity.