Pharmaceutical companies "are turning to the developing world as profits stagnate in the West. But regulation in these countries is weak," writes Jeremy Laurance. A new report by Consumers International titled "Drugs, Doctors and Dinners" (PDF) describes how companies push their drugs in poorer countries. "In Pakistan, doctors who wrote 200 prescriptions for one high-price drug were offered the down payment on a new car. ... India was one of the fastest-growing markets last year, with sales increasing 17.5 per cent to $7.3 bn. But the health commission, in 2005, labelled 10 out of the 25 top-selling medicines as being 'irrational or non-essential or hazardous.'" Consumers International states that "doctors are offered everything from mousepads to motorbikes" by drug marketers. "Pervasive marketing contributes to 50% of medicines in the developing world being wrongly prescribed."
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