New Delhi [India], April 25 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to file an affidavit on a plea alleging unethical marketing practices by pharmaceutical companies in their dealings with healthcare professionals resulting in prescription of excessive or irrational drugs and a push for high-cost or over-priced brands.
"Counter affidavit be filed within a period of eight weeks from today," a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant said.
The Court listed the matter for further hearing on July 15 2022.
The Court was hearing a petition which claimed that there are abundant examples that show how corruption in the pharmaceutical sector endangers positive health outcomes and puts patients' health at risk.
The petition was filed by Federation of Medical and Sales Representatives Association of India along with others through advocate Aparna Bhat. The petitioner was represented by Senior Advocate Sanjay Parikh.
The petitioners sought "enforcement of the fundamental right to health enshrined in the Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India in view of the ever-increasing instances of unethical marketing practices by Pharmaceutical Companies in their dealings with healthcare professionals resulting in prescription of excessive and/or irrational drugs and a push for high-cost and/or over-priced brands, which are practices that directly affect citizens' health, violating their rights under Article 21 of Constitution."
"There are abundant examples that show how corruption in the pharmaceutical sector endangers positive health outcomes and puts patients' health at risk," the petitioner said.
The petitioner also added that as violations of this kind have become a recurring phenomenon and are progressively becoming more pervasive, the Petitioners prayed that a Statutory Code of ethical marketing for the pharmaceutical industry with penal consequences be established to curb such practices for the enforcement of the fundamental Right to Health of the people of India.
It was also said that due to voluntary nature of the existing Code, unethical practices continue to increase and have also surfaced during the COVID-19 times.
Hence, the petitioner has urged to issue direction to give the Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices statutory basis and make it effective by providing a monitoring mechanism, transparency, accountability as well as consequences of violations.
The petitioner has urged to direct that till an effective law is enacted as prayed above, this court may lay down the guidelines to control and regulate unethical marketing practices by pharmaceutical companies or in the alternative make the existing code binding with such modifications or additions as the court may find proper and reasonable, which should be followed by all the authorities or courts under Articles 32, 141, 142 and 144 of the Constitution. (ANI)