A section of doctors across the country is prescribing medicines, including antibiotics, in exchange for money and gift provided by pharmaceutical companies, sources said.
They alleged that many pharmaceutical companies provide different lucrative gifts, including air-conditioners (AC), refrigerators, air tickets for foreign trips, local air tickets for family trips and monthly allowances, to doctors for prescribing their medicines.
A senior consultant of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, wishing anonymity, told daily sun that pharmaceutical companies across the country are investing huge amount of money on doctors to promote their medicinal products.
He said doctors are playing an important role in promoting their medicines.
“Some doctors demand money like monthly salary while some other demand ACs, flats in the capital or international air tickets for attending international conferences,” he added.
“Many doctors take medicines from pharmaceutical companies as free samples. But they sell those to pharmacies. Doctors have many ways of earning money from drug companies,” he said.
He also said doctors across the country are prescribing substandard medicines by taking gifts from the pharmaceutical companies.
“Village doctors as well as qualified doctors are allegedly involved in earning money from pharmaceutical companies by prescribing their medicines. And it is found that most of the village doctors are engaged in promoting substandard medicines by taking money from the so-called pharmaceutical companies,” he said.
People have to suffer many side effects after taking these sub-standard medicines prescribed by the doctors in exchange for money and gift, he pointed out.
Noted pharmacologist ABM Faruk told daily sun that pharmaceutical companies are involved in aggressive marketing for promoting their medicinal products through doctors.
“And a section of doctors prescribes medicines, including antibiotics, by taking gifts from pharmaceutical companies. It is open secret that some doctors prescribe substandard medicines. And they [some doctors] are doing this practice for earning extra money ignoring public health,” he added.
He called upon the government to strengthen monitoring over the pharmaceutical companies so that the companies cannot produce substandard medicines.
At the same time, doctors should prescribe quality medicines for the improvement of public health which will ensure healthy environment in healthcare sector, he said.
Responding to the issue, Registrar of Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council (BMDC) Dr Zahidul Haque Basunia said doctors save lives but it is hard to believe that some doctors prescribe substandard medicines for money ignoring public health.
“I would like to request doctors not to prescribe any medicines, which is below the standard, for money,” he added.