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Pakistan Bans Pharma-Sponsored Foreign Tours For Doctors

Pakistan Bans Pharma-Sponsored Foreign Tours For Doctors

The prevalent practice of pharmaceutical companies lavishing doctors and healthcare professionals with expensive gifts and extravagant trips has long been an open secret. However, authorities are now taking proactive measures to address the intricate relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and physicians. The National Institute of Health (NIH) recently issued a circular imposing a ban on foreign trips for doctors and hospital staff sponsored by pharmaceutical groups.

The circular, titled ‘Visits Abroad,’ stipulates that any requests for Ex-Pakistan leave must be accompanied by an affidavit from the concerned officers. This affidavit should confirm that their foreign visits are not related to attending conferences or seminars and are not sponsored by any private company or donor. The move aims to curtail the influence of pharmaceutical companies on healthcare professionals by restricting sponsored foreign trips.

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Additionally, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has introduced a fresh code of conduct for both pharmaceutical companies and medical professionals. This code, authorized by the federal government, includes regulations that prohibit medicine companies from covering travel expenses for doctors’ families and others. The notification emphasizes that doctors seeking reimbursement for foreign travel expenses must obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from their institution. These measures mark a concerted effort by authorities to ensure transparency, ethical conduct, and independence in the medical field, fostering a more accountable and unbiased healthcare system.