Investigation Launched into Unethical Practices at Bell-Kenz Pharma Inc.

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Investigation Launched into Allegations of Unethical Practices at Bell-Kenz Pharma Inc.

Health and regulatory officials have announced that they will be launching an investigation into allegations of unethical practices at Bell-Kenz Pharma Inc. The company is accused of engaging in a “pyramiding” scheme and offering luxurious gifts to doctors in exchange for prescribing their hypertension and diabetes medication. The Department of Health (DOH), the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be working together to conduct the investigation.

The allegations came to light as the Senate prepares to hold hearings on the controversy. The FDA spokesperson, Pamela Sevilla, stated that the investigation will run parallel to the Senate probe, which is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, April 30th. Prior to the hearings, Bell-Kenz Pharma Inc. released a statement denying the allegations.

It is worth noting that even before Senator JV Ejercito brought attention to the alleged collusion between Bell-Kenz and doctors, the FDA had already arranged a meeting with the PRC and the DOH to address the issue. Sevilla emphasized that they were aware of the matter and committed to resolving it.

Whistleblowers to Reveal “Pyramiding Scheme” at Senate Hearing

During the upcoming Senate hearing, whistleblowers are expected to provide detailed information regarding the alleged “pyramiding scheme” involving doctors at Bell-Kenz Pharma. Senator JV Ejercito, the Deputy Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, expressed concern over reports that the pharmaceutical company enticed doctors with luxurious gifts or incentives in order to promote their products.

Senator Ejercito became aware of the scheme two or three months ago and conducted his own research. He discovered that most of the medications being prescribed were for hypertension and diabetes. He noted, “The only problem is that there seems to be a conflict of interest and a breach of ethical standards because the whistleblowers said the doctors were prescribing drugs that they themselves were importing as owners of the company.”

Regulatory Bodies and Medical Associations Respond to the Allegations

In response to the recent reports, the Department of Health (DOH) has issued a department circular, 2024-0141, reminding all medical professionals to uphold professional and ethical standards. The circular specifically addresses the use of a “multi-level marketing scheme” by pharmaceutical companies to entice doctors to advertise or prescribe their medical products. It emphasizes that accepting gifts, grants, or any emoluments from pharmaceutical companies in exchange for benefiting the company is considered unethical.

The Philippine Medical Association (PMA) has also weighed in on the matter. While they did not confirm the alleged practices, they released a statement reminding their members to maintain integrity and ethical practices when dealing with pharmaceutical companies. The statement emphasizes the importance of preserving the trust that patients place in doctors and urges physicians to prioritize the best interests of their patients over external influences.

The PMA statement also calls on doctors to disclose any financial relationships or conflicts of interest they may have with pharmaceutical companies. It reinforces the commitment to the code of ethics of the medical profession and the need for transparency in interactions with the pharmaceutical industry.

Overall, the investigation into the allegations of unethical practices at Bell-Kenz Pharma Inc. highlights the importance of upholding professional and ethical standards in the medical field. It serves as a reminder to both regulatory bodies and medical professionals to prioritize patient well-being and maintain integrity in all dealings with pharmaceutical companies.

Source: The Manila Times

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