Dolo-650 makers bribed doctors, gave gifts of Rs 1000 cr to push sales; health experts condemn ‘unethical act’
The manufacturer of Dolo-650 has used unethical practice, bribed doctors and distributed gifts worth Rs 1000 crore in order to increase the sale of the drug, alleged CBDT after an investigation
Micro Labs, the manufacturer of Dolo-650 – an anti-inflammatory, anti-analgesic (pain killer) oral tablet which became household name during the Coronavirus pandemic has used unethical practice, bribed doctors and distributed gifts worth Rs 1000 crore in order to increase the sale of the drug, alleged Central Bureau of Direct Taxes (CBDT) after an investigation.
The CBDT, which comes under the Ministry of Finance, had conducted raids on 36 premises of the Dolo-650 maker Micro Labs Ltd on July 6.
The department seized “unaccounted” cash of Rs 1.20 crore and gold and diamond jewellery of Rs 1.40 crore, claimed the CBDT.
“The evidence indicates that the group has adopted unethical practices to promote its products/brands. The quantum of such freebies detected is estimated to be around Rs 1,000 crore,” said the CBDT following the raid.
Issuing a statement, the administrative arms of the IT department said that the drug maker was also involved in the tax evasion.
As per an estimate, the quantum of tax sought to be “evaded” is estimated at over Rs 300 crore.
“The initial gleaning of the evidence has revealed that the group has been debiting in its books of account unallowable expenses on account of the distribution of freebies to the medical professionals under the head sales and promotion” said the CBDT.
“Freebies included travel expenses, perquisites and gifts etc. To doctors and medical professionals for promoting the group’s products under the heads promotion and propaganda, seminars and symposiums, medical advisories etc,” added the CBDT.
The revelation by the CBDT sent shock waves in the medical fraternity. Many public health experts have come forward and condemned the unethical practice adopted by the drug maker.
The Sugamya India Foundation – an organisation working to improve the public health system in rural areas strongly condemned the malpractice adopted by the drug-making company.
Calling it “unethical” and “inhuman” the Foundation, which is run by a group of young doctors from the Lady Hardinge Medical College (Delhi) demanded a probe into the matter by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).
The DCGI which comes under the Ministry of Health is responsible for approval of licence of specified categories of drugs.
“This is not only unethical but inhuman also. Sugamya India Foundation condemns the malpractice adopted by the Micro lab and urge the Drugs Controller General of India to look into the matter and take appropriateaction if needed,” reads the statement issued by the Foundation.
A doctor at All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) said, "It is a shame what companies do. They do promote their drugs in unethical ways. Doctors in government hospitals write mostly generic and cheap medicines not the same with private practitioners. The government should come down heavily on such companies to prove that they are not hand in glove with them".