pharma cos can no longer gift freebies to doctors from jan 1

MUMBAI: Doling out freebies, cruise tickets, paid vacations and sponsorships to educational conferences and seminars for doctors by pharmaceutical companies has been banned from January.

The government has woken up belatedly to curb unethical marketing practices of pharma companies by spelling out a uniform code of conduct for the industry. The code will be voluntary to start with, and kicks in from January 1. It will be reviewed after six months; if not implemented “effectively”, the government will “consider”‘ making it mandatory, sources told TOI.

At present, the pharma industry follows a “self-regulatory” code that curbs unethical sales promotion and marketing expenses, bans personal gifts, and all-expenses paid junkets for doctors and their families, but there have been several instances where companies have violated the code, industry experts say. They say the code exists only on paper as companies try to influence prescriptions through several ways.

This is the first time in years that the code has been finalized by the government, as earlier attempts to do so got mired in bureaucratic red tape.

Concerned with the increase in unethical marketing practices and prescription drug promotions by pharma companies, the government had first decided to ban these through a uniform code in 2008-2009, but the pharma associations did not agree to it.

When contacted, Indian Drug Manufacturers Association secretary general Daara Patel said, “The code seems to be strict. We are in consultations with the government. If we cannot educate about a particular medicine or disseminate information, how will doctors know about it?”

Industry body IDMA, representing certain domestic companies and OPPI, which represents MNCs, have their own “self-regulatory” codes in place, drawn up a couple of years back, and revised again in 2013.

Industry experts say that the government’s Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices has been modelled on the Medical Council of India (MCI) guidelines for doctors and healthcare professionals, which were further tightened in 2012.

The code – a copy of which is available with the TOI-talks about banning gifts, hospitality, medical samples, medical grants, and clarifies the relationship with healthcare professionals. Regarding gifts, it says “no gifts, pecuniary advantages, or benefits in kind may be supplied, offered or promised to persons qualified to prescribe or supply drugs, by a pharma company, or any of it agents including retailers, distributors or wholesalers”.

It says “in any seminar, conference or meeting organized by a pharma company for promoting a drug or disseminating information, if a medical practitioner participates as a delegate, it will be on his/her own cost.”

It further says that gifts for the personal benefit of healthcare professionals and family members (both immediate and extended) such as tickets to entertainment events are also not to be offered or provided by pharma companies, nor cash or monetary grants for individual purposes. Hospitality should also not be extended to any doctor or their family members.

Referring to the earlier communication to industry associations sent out over two years back in March 2012, the department of pharmaceuticals says in the letter that the Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices has been finalized after inputs by various stakeholders, and would be again reviewed six months after its implementation from January 1, 2015.

The industry associations have to upload the Uniform Code on their websites and will be responsible for informing its members, and the government in case of violations.

The code also adds that “where there is any item missing, the code of MCI as per the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulation, 2002 as amended from time to time, will prevail”.

Dr Reddy’s acquires Habitrol brand

"With this closure, the company has assumed responsibility for the product and will commence shipments of the product in the market shortly," DRL said.

City-based drugmaker Dr Reddy’s Laboratories has acquired Habitrol brand, a nicotine replacement therapy transdermal patch, from NovartisBSE -0.74 % Consumer Health Inc.

According to a statement issued by the drug major, the acquisition of Habitrol brand (an over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy transdermal patch) from Novartis Consumer Health Inc was done following issuance of the proposed consent order from the US Federal by TotalPlu ..

Flipkart files application to become public, raises $700 mn

Flipkart has already hit a $4 billion revenue run rate on the back of exclusive tie-ups with mobile handset makers Motorola and Xiaomi.

Flipkart today announced that it had closed its third round of funding, with country’s largest e-tailer attracting interest from five new investors to help it raise $700 million, as the seven year-old company looks to cement its position in the e-ecommerce space.

The Bengaluru-based company saw participation from new investors, including Greenoaks Capital, Steadview Capital and Qatar Investment Authority, along with existing investors, such as DST Global, ICONIQ Capital and Tiger Glob ..

12th Five-Year Plan set an 18 per cent CAGR target for pharma sector: Government

"The Twelfth plan document had set an objective of achieving a CAGR of 18% for the sector," MoS for Chemicals & Fertilizers Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said

The 12th Five-Year Plan document had set an aim to achieve a compound annual growth rate of 18 per cent for the pharma sector, the government said today.

“The Twelfth plan document had set an objective of achieving a compound annual growth rate ( CAGR) of 18 per cent for the sector,” Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said in a reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

To facilitate achieving the growth o ..

Rouble fallout: Dr Reddy’s, Ranbaxy’s profit in trouble

Depreciation of the russian currency poses a risk to the profitability of Indian pharma companies such as Dr Reddy’s, Glenmark and ranbaxy. Russia, a key market for these companies, contributes 5% of overall Indian pharma exports.
RussiaCIS accounts for 10% of overall sales of companies like Dr Reddy’s, Glenmark, Ranbaxy , IPCA and Torrent. In the September quarter, they began reporting that the Russian currency devaluation was hurting business. This could worsen.

Political crisis in Russia and weakening crude prices have resulted in sharp rouble depreciation against the US dollar (83% since March 2014). Analysts say an unchecked rouble slide would hurt profitability, especially if rupee holds stable (versus USD).

dr. reddys and Glenmark could take a hit as Russia CIS constitutes 9-15% of their total revenues. But the impact on Torrent and IPCA would be nominal, owing to lower sales RussiaCIS, Rajat Rajgarhia, MD institutional equities, Motilal Oswal Securities said. Ranbaxy’s 15-month earnings (Jan 2013-March 2014) from Russia was Rs 650 crore. But some compa nies may escape the rouble depreciation consequence net-net, as their loss will be offset by rupee depreciation (against the dollar).

But some analysts say the impact may not be large. “It’s unlikely to impact Dr Reddy’s profitability much as it earns only 15% of its sales (FY2014) from Russia, says Sarabjit Kour Nangra, VP research (pharma), Angel Broking.


Maruti to raise car prices by 2-4 pct from Jan in india

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd , India’s largest carmaker, plans to raise prices of its cars by 2 to 4 percent from January due to an increase in input costs, its executive director R.S. Kalsi said on Monday.

Maruti joins carmakers including Indian units of BMW AG and General Motors Co that also plan to raise prices of their cars by up to 5 percent from January, the companies have said earlier.

The increase in prices come despite slowing sales of passenger vehicles which are expected to grow at less than 4 percent this fiscal year that started on April 1, according to the Society of Indian automobiles Manufacturers.

The industry body had earlier said sales would grow between five percent and 10 percent in this fiscal year.

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, India’s top utility vehicle maker, also raised prices of its passenger and commercial vehicles, and tractors in November to offset rise in input costs.