Gujarat pharmaceutical firms major polluters

Daily News & Analysis, September 13, 2012

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They might be keeping you in good health, but they’re definitely not keeping the environment healthy. A Business Regulation and Corporate Conduct (BRCC) survey of the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors has revealed that pharma firms are big polluters.A state-level stakeholder dialogue was held in the city on Tuesday by Ramana Development Consultants, Consumer Unity and Trust Society and Norwegian Institute of International Affairs to discuss the findings of the survey. The survey covered Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal.

In Gujarat, the survey assessed 75 pharmaceutical firms, 75 private hospitals, 35 medical representatives, 145 prescription collections and seven associations. Key places for the research were Ahmadabad, Vadodara, Bharuch and Valsad.The study, which looked at the environmental impact of the pharma industry, found land pollution to the extent of 76.47%, while hazardous waste was a whopping 60%.

A weak regulatory framework, incentives by pharma firms and commercial motivation to doctors only make things worse. The marketing and distribution sector saw 40% firms indulging in distribution of gifts/incentives in order to maximize profits and gain new markets, while 24.44 % of firms believed it was ‘essential for survival’.

“This dialogue helped in creating a platform for different sectors to meet and engage in discussing policies, regulations and its implementation. There is involvement of all stakeholders. Such meets should happen more often as they enhance the understanding of different sectors. It is also a step towards maintaining and spreading the message of Corporate Social Responsibility,” said Dr Ketan Gandhi, CEO of Ramana Consultants.

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