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KUWAIT CITY, July 23: In a move aimed at controlling the “marketing propaganda” of pharmaceutical products inside health facilities and the resulting “opportunistic” suspicions, health sources revealed that the Ministry of Health is studying a regulatory mechanism for the visits of representatives of pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies to health facilities, reports Al-Rai daily. Such a move was based on the observations made on the negative effects of these irregular visits on the workflow during official working hours.
The new mechanism takes into account the rights of patients as well as the work of doctors in a comfortable atmosphere. According to the sources, one of the most important items in the proposed mechanism is preventing delegates’ visits during official working hours, regulating the number of visits by representatives of each company, and obtaining a prior appointment from the heads or managers of health facilities to be after the end of the working hours in a manner that does not disrupt patients’ appointments.
The items also included setting a day on which the head of the department will meet, in the presence of some doctors who can stay behind after working hours, with company representatives, after obtaining prior approvals from the health facilities management and coordinating with the heads of departments in this regard. The sources stressed that the regulatory mechanism aims primarily to eliminate the negatives that these visits may cause.
They said, “Its application has become necessary in light of the increasing number of visits by company representatives, to prevent any impact on doctors’ decisions when prescribing treatments, and to address any suspicions of self-seeking that may involve some”. Some Western reports indicate the negative impact of some pharmaceutical companies and the “gifts” they provide to some doctors (such as in-kind gifts, facilities, or recreational trips in the form of scientific conferences or others), including a study prepared by researchers at the University Hospital in Rennes, France, which concluded that physicians who receive gifts from drug makers tend to prescribe more expensive and lower quality drugs than their colleagues.