DOLO-65O makers spent Rs 1,000 crore as 'freebies' for doctors to prescribe it

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August 18, 2022

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New Delhi, Aug 18: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre to file its response within 10 days on a PIL seeking directions to make pharmaceutical companies liable for giving freebies to doctors as an incentive to prescribe their drugs.

A bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice AS Bopanna was informed that makers of Dolo-650 mg tablet had invested Rs 1,000 crore in freebies to have its anti-fever drug prescribed to patients.

The Central Board for Direct Taxes has accused makers of the Dolo-650 tablet of distributing freebies worth Rs 1,000 crore to doctors as consideration for prescribing the tablet, said senior advocate Sanjay Parikh, appearing for the Federation of Medical and Sales Representatives Association of India.

Justice DY Chandrachud remarked that it is a "serious issue" and said that even he has been prescribed the same tablet during COVID.

"This is not music to my ears. I was also asked to have the same when I had COVID. This is a serious issue and matter," Justice Chandrachud said.

Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, appearing for the Centre, said that affidavit is almost ready and it will be filed.

The apex court then asked the Central government to file a reply within 10 days on the plea alleging unethical marketing practices by pharmaceutical companies in their dealings with healthcare professionals resulting in the prescription of excessive or irrational drugs and a push for high-cost or over-priced brands.

Earlier, the bench had issued notice to the Centre on the petition but it has not filed a response yet.

The plea claimed that there are abundant examples that show how corruption in the pharmaceutical sector endangers positive health outcomes and puts patients' health at risk.

There are abundant examples that show how corruption in the pharmaceutical sector endangers positive health outcomes and puts patients' health at risk, the petition has said.

The petition added that as violations of this kind have become a recurring phenomenon and are progressively becoming more pervasive, 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.

The petition also said that due to the voluntary nature of the existing Code, unethical practices continue to increase and have also surfaced during the COVID-19 times.

Hence, the petition urged to issue direction to give the Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices a statutory basis and make it effective by providing a monitoring mechanism, transparency, accountability as well as consequences of violations.

The petition 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/additions as the court may find proper and reasonable, which should be followed by all the authorities/courts under Articles 32, 141, 142 and 144 of the Constitution.

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News Network
September 28,2022

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Hyderabad, Sept 28: AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi on Wednesday slammed the Centre for banning Popular Front of India (PFI) saying the "draconian" ban is dangerous as it is a ban on any Muslim who wishes to speak his mind. 

"While I have always opposed PFI's approach and supported democratic approach, this ban on PFI cannot be supported. Actions of some individuals who commit crime does not mean that the organisation itself must be banned. SC has also held that mere association with an organisation is not enough to convict someone," Owaisi said in a tweet.

He added that the way India's "electoral autarky" is approaching "fascism", every Muslim youth will now be arrested with a PFI pamphlet under the UAPA. 

"Muslims have spent decades in prison before being acquitted by courts. I have opposed UAPA and will always oppose all actions under UAPA. It runs afoul the principle of liberty, which is part of basic structure of the Constitution," said Owaisi. 

After years of investigations and demands from BJP-ruled states, the Narendra Modi government on Wednesday banned PFI and its eight affiliates for five years, charging them with being involved in "several criminal and terror cases" and having links with the terror outfits like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).

The ban, which was notified by the Ministry of Home Affairs in the gazette at 5:43 am, came following multi-agency raids in around 15 states, including Karnataka and Kerala, led by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that led to the arrest or detention of over 350 PFI leaders and activists on September 22 and 27. The MHA said in the notification that the ban was recommended by BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat governments.

Along with the PFI, its affiliates Rehab India Foundation (RIF), Campus Front of India (CFI), All India Imams Council (AIIC), National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation (NCHRO), National Women’s Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab India, Kerala were banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. 

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News Network
September 30,2022

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Moscow, Sept 30: President Vladimir Putin has signed treaties on the inclusion of four former Ukrainian regions, into the Russian Federation. Friday’s ceremony marked the start of the formal process of their accession. 

The heads of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Denis Pushilin and Leonid Pasechnik, as well as the leaders of Kherson and Zaporozhye, Vladimir Saldo and Evgeny Balitsky, signed the documents together with Putin.

The move follows official requests by the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as the two southern Ukrainian regions, which had declared independence, to join Russia. All four territories held referendums on the issue between September 23 and 27, which saw overwhelming support for the move, according to results announced earlier this week by local election committees.

In Donetsk, 99.23% of the people voted to reunite with Moscow, with Lugansk showing a slightly lower figure of 98.42%. Zaporozhye Region highly supported the idea of splitting from Ukraine and joining Russia, with around 93% of voters backing it. Some 87% voted in favor in Kherson Region as well.

The treaties will now be submitted to Russia’s Constitutional Court, which will assess them to ensure they do not violate Russian law. Once they are cleared, the agreements will have to be ratified first by the State Duma – the lower house of the Russian parliament – and then by the Federal Council, its upper house. 

The lawmakers will also need to pass legislation on incorporating the two republics and two regions into Russia. The Donbass republics, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye, will become part of Russia no sooner than the law is signed by Putin. 

On Thursday, State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said that the lower house of Russian parliament would convene on October 3 to discuss a number of issues, including the treaties’ potential ratification. The Federal Council could also discuss the ratification at its regular session on October 4, the upper chamber’s head, Valentina Matviyenko, confirmed on Wednesday. “I do not see the need for extraordinary sessions,” she told journalists at the time. 

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states, accusing Kiev of failing to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014.

On February 24, Russia sent troops into Ukraine, citing the need to protect Donbass. It also demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.

Most of the Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions were seized by Russian forces soon after the start of the conflict. Officials have repeatedly considered the idea of joining Russia since then before eventually holding referendums in September. 

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News Network
September 29,2022

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The Kerala High Court on Thursday observed it would be directing banned outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) to deposit with the state government over Rs 5 crore in compensation sought by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) for causing damages during the statewide ‘hartal’ , PTI reported.

Several state-run buses were damaged during the 12-hour hartal called by the Kerala unit of PFI on September 23 against the nationwide NIA raids and subsequent arrests of PFI cadre, leaders and office-bearers, a day earlier.

A division bench of Justices A K Jayasankaran Nambiar and Mohammed Nias C P ordered that the amount of Rs 5.20 crore be deposited within two weeks.

Advocate Deepu Thankan, who appeared for KSRTC, said that the court also ordered that the outfit’s former state general secretary, Abdul Sattar, be made a party in all the criminal cases registered across the state in connection to the hartal and the destruction of properties.

The bench also said that none of the accused will be granted bail until they deposit the cost of the damages allegedly caused by the banned outfit.

In its pleas, the KSRTC contended that the hartal was called without any prior notice, which is in violation of the Kerala High Court’s 2019 order which made flash hartals/strikes illegal, and had said that a seven days prior notice must be given ahead of calling any hartals.

The transport authority claimed that about 58 buses were damaged, and 10 employees and a passenger were injured in the violence.

The plea further said that while it was already in severe financial crisis, the repair cost of its buses, the loss due to their inoperability during repairs and the reduction in service on September 23 due to the hartal has caused it an overall pecuniary loss of Rs 5,06,21,382.

“It is submitted that the massive loss incurred by the KSRTC is liable to be recovered from the perpetrators as the same was a result of their highly illegal and terrorizing act against the hapless general public. The KSRTC is entitled to get its loss from those who called for the hartal and they cannot wash their hands from the responsibility of payment of damages to KSRTC,” the plea read, as quoted by PTI.

On September 23, the Kerala High Court had initiated a suo motu case against the PFI and Sathar, who called for the state-wide hartal.

Multi-agency teams, spearheaded by NIA, along with the Enforcement Directorate, on September 22, carried out raids at 93 locations in 15 state, and arrested over 100 PFI leaders for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country. Kerala accounted for the maximum arrests at 22.

Meanwhile, the Centre on Wednesday, banned the PFI and eight of its affiliates or fronts under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) alleging “terror links”. The PFI Kerala state general secretary Sathar, later in the evening, informed that the outfit has been dissolved in view of the central government’s decision to declare it illegal, and that they will abide by the decision.

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