Beware of pharma pushed news in newspapers

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Many pharmaceutical companies are hiring PR agencies to push disease management or prevention health stories in newspapers at national level.

The story on behalf of the pharmaceutical company is created by the PR agency who then approaches key opinion leaders as suggested by the pharma and publishes the same story under the name of KOL in the city.

Any story to which we lend our name and photograph may land us into problem under the MCI Act.

It is also possible that the PR agency may send the same story to their state counterparts and get exactly the same story published in various state newspapers under the name of different doctors. So, the same story may appear ad verbatim under the name of different doctors with their photographs in various states.

Sometimes doctors may not even know that a pharma company is behind these stories as they may be approached by a PR agency that will send doctors an article and ask to give their name and photograph against that article and doctor may not be aware that the same article also has been sent to another doctor in another state.

It may also so happen that the PR department of your own hospital may approach you for a story to take your name and photograph. The doctor is under the impression that the story has been developed by their PR department and they are totally unaware that the story has come through another PR agency to their hospital PR department. The hospital PR department is always under pressure to give the target to their management.

The same story being published under different names in any way is unethical and illegal.

I recently came across a story, where a pharma company pushed exactly the same vitamin D article in different states with their photos.