Not all drug companies are bound by association's rules

There may be rules on how members of the Singapore Association of Pharmaceutical Industries are to behave when promoting their products, as Dr Desmond Wai mentions in his letter (Efforts by pharmaceutical industry to self-regulate; Nov 27), but not all pharma companies are members of the association.

Also, it would be naive to believe that any business would discourage its sales representatives from doing all it takes to establish strong relations with customers who are likely to give the highest return on their investment.

An increasing number of private doctors seem unconcerned about the appropriateness of their relationship with drug companies.

Specialists in the private sector depend heavily on pharmaceutical companies to support their continual medical education programmes, which include costly regional conferences.

Whether these conference venues that the doctors are sent to are considered luxurious, or the facilities deemed for leisure or business, is arbitrary, and hardly relevant.

Edmund Khoo

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2017, with the headline 'Not all drug companies are bound by association's rules'. Print Edition | Subscribe