Need for Multi-Stakeholder Involvement-Way Forward towards Promotion of Business Responsibility in Pharmaceutical Sector
Kolkata, June 07, 2013
‘In order to promote the concept and ensure the adoption of business responsibility in the pharmaceutical sector in Wate Bengal, it is necessary to have clarity about definitions of and distinction between ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ and ‘Business Responsibility’ among the pharma firms in the state’ observed Dr. R.D. Dubey, President, Indian Medical Association, West Bengal while speaking during an Interface Meeting-“Evolving Responsible Pharmaceutical Sector through Multi-Stakeholder Discussion”, organised by CUTS International.
He mentioned that corporate social responsibility is mostly related to the activities that are being carried out by the firms for providing direct benefits to community which can vary from running a school in village for children belonging to poor families to providing training on some livelihood generation activity. On the other hand business responsibility is much broader term which focuses basically upon the internal conduct of businesses. Being responsible business entity means taking care of all the aspects including procurement of raw material to producing final goods. He emphasised the need to create awareness and build capacity of pharmaceutical firms for becoming more responsible in their conduct. He congratulated CUTS International for taking the initiative of promoting business responsibility among pharmaceutical firms.
Welcoming the participants, Keya Ghosh, Director, CUTS-Calcutta Resource Centre mentioned that in order to achieve the objective of sustainable growth in the long it is required for pharma firms to adopt responsible way of doing business. However, there are certain challenges facing uptake of responsible business and it is imperative to evolve a discourse between the key stakeholders related to pharmaceutical sector, in order to overcome these challenges. She further elaborated that through this meeting Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) and key actors would try to comprehend difficulties faced by the pharmaceutical firms in becoming more responsible entities. Understanding these limitations would allow preparation of a roadmap for promotion of better business in the sector at the state level.
The event marked an important development in terms of preparing a blueprint of a responsible pharmaceutical sector at the state level. The participants representing various stakeholder groups such as state regulators, pharma association, medical association, pharma firms, civil society etc. provided their inputs for mitigating the challenges creating obstacle in the way of pharmaceutical firms and what outcomes it would ultimately lead to, both in terms of short term gains and long term benefits.
Prof. (Dr.) Krishnangshu Ray, Director, Institute of Health & Family Welfare, Government of West Bengal, playing the role of moderator during the meeting lauded the effort being made by CUTS-International for promoting the concept of business responsibility within the pharmaceutical sector. He stated that such activities would be beneficial for both industry as well as the community at large. Mr. Gour Kanti Paul, Assistant Director, FDCA, West Bengal was also present during the meeting and provided his expert opinion on ways to improve understanding between the state regulators, pharmaceutical firms, associations and other relevant stakeholders. He also highlighted the difficulties such as lack of human resource etc., being faced by regulators that affect implementation of regulations in the state. However, he emphasised upon regular interaction between various stakeholders to improve the overall situation.