healthcare workers

DOH, PRC form joint committee to investigate alleged pharma pyramid scheme

Kaycee Valmonte

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

DOH, PRC form joint committee to investigate alleged pharma pyramid scheme
The committee will also tap the Philippine Medical Association and the Philippine Pharmacists Association to investigate unethical practice

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) formed a joint committee for investigation (JCI) to look into alleged unethical pharmaceutical marketing schemes in the industry.

The JCI involves the DOH’s Public Health Ethics Committee, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as the PRC. The health department plans to involve the Securities and Exchange Commission to also help with the investigation.

“The JCI will help reduce redundancy and expedite due process requirements regarding the many allegations aired at the Senate hearing, ensuring that the integrity of the medical profession is protected while holding accountable those found to have violated pertinent laws, rules, and regulations,” the DOH said.

The committee will also tap the Philippine Medical Association and the Philippine Pharmacists Association to investigate alleged unethical practice.

People, Person, Adult
JCI MEETING. The Department of Health, along with the Professional Regulation Commission and professional organizations, will investigate claims against doctors and pharmaceutical companies allegedly involved in multi-level marketing schemes.

This comes after a Senate hearing was prompted by reports that a pharmaceutical company allegedly had a multi-level marketing or pyramid scheme for doctors by doctors.

Bell-Kenz Pharma Incorporated was at the heart of the Senate hearing on Tuesday, April 30.

The company denied implementing the scheme and asserted that it was a “traditional” pharmaceutical company, with medical representatives reaching out to doctors to explain their products and have doctors prescribing their medicine to patients who purchase them at a drugstore.

However, its chief executive officer Luis Raymond Go admitted that the company gives incentives such as support for medical conferences here and overseas to their shareholder doctors, on top of clinic equipment, trips abroad, and watches to doctors in exchange for including their brand in medical prescriptions.

The country’s Generics Act requires physicians to prescribe the generic name of the medicine. While those working in a private institution may include their preferred brand in the prescription, physicians working in public hospitals are required to stick with the generic name.

Pharmaceutical companies are also supposed to disclose to the DOH and the FDA if they have existing partnerships with hospitals.

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During the hearing, Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa noted that an investigation into the claims was underway, and he has also directed the involved hospital to start looking into the allegations.

The FDA, in an announcement dated April 26, also reminded all FDA-licensed pharmaceutical companies, medical device and drug suppliers to disclose their financial relationships with healthcare providers and medical professionals to the DOH. This would be collected through the FDA’s Online Disclosure Reporting System. – Rappler.com

The DOH encourages those with information to contact the FDA Field Regulatory Operations Office via (02) 8842-5635 or through fdac@fda.gov.ph. The department said the JCI will be working with its legal advisers to figure out a way to ensure the safety of whistleblowers.

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