Medicines are getting expensive due to the gifts given to doctors by the pharmaceutical companies : Supreme Court

The Court dismissed the plea of ​​pharma companies to include the cost of gift-giving in the income tax exemption

New Delhi – Doctors get gifts from pharmaceutical companies. The Court dismissed the plea of ​​pharma companies to include the cost of gift-giving in the income tax exemption. The Court said gifts (conference fee, gold coin, laptop, fridge, LCD TV and travel expenses, etc.) are not free they are added to the cost of medicines. Giving a freebie is against public policy and is explicitly prohibited by law.

Supreme Court said,

  1. Giving such gifts result in the price increase of drugs. Which put an unnecessary financial burden on the patients. Giving a gift to a medical professional is prohibited.
  2. Under section 37(1) of the Income Tax Act, pharma companies cannot take advantage of income tax exemption. ‘Medical Council regulations (profession conduct, etiquette and ethics), 2002’ has banned the practice of accepting expensive gifts for prescribing expensive branded drugs rather than equally effective ones. Which puts an unnecessary financial burden on the patients.
  3. The doctor-patient relationship is such that the doctor’s single word is final for the patient. Patients try to buy the medicine prescribed by the doctor even if it is expensive and not affordable for them.  When it is found that the prescription written by the doctor is related to him/her receiving gifts from pharma companies, it becomes a matter of great concern.

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