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    Official pans free foreign trips for docs

    JALALABAD (PAN): Free foreign trips for doctors by some of pharmaceuticals are a major source of corruption, the public health director of eastern Nangarhar province said on Tuesday.

    In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Dr. Baz Mohammad Sherzad alleged pharmaceutical companies, in a bid to boost their sales, offered doctors foreign junkets.

    In return, the official charged, the doctors prescribed the companies’ products irrespective of their efficacy and quality. The unfair practice took a direct toll on poor patients, he observed, stressing an end to freebies for doctors.

    “This is significant corruption in the field of medical treatment, with cost to the indigent people,” remarked Sherzad, who warned doctors and pharmaceutical firms of legal action if they did not shun the inexcusable practice.

    The director revealed three doctors had been suspended on the charge of violating medical ethics, and a midwife in Ghanikhel clinic fired for taking bribes from a patient.

    Sherzad accused some companies of importing substandard medicine. But he hastened to explain that most of such imports had been confiscated by the authorities concerned.

    He called on border police and custom officials to cooperate with them in enforcing the ban on the entry of low-quality medicine into Afghanistan.