M A I N   N E W S

Aamir appears before House panel, pitches for
generic medicines
Girja Shankar Kaura/TNS

New Delhi, June 21
Days after his TV show “Satyamev Jayate” highlighted malpractices in the medical profession, Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan today presented his views before the Standing Committee of Parliament on Commerce which is examining the issue of FDI in the pharmaceutical sector.

The actor, who was in the capital with his research team, made a comprehensive presentation before the committee headed by Rajya Sabha MP Shanta Kumar of the BJP.

Emerging with Shanta Kumar from the committee room in Parliament’s library, Aamir Khan addressed the waiting media, but refused to divulge details of his presentation made in front of the parliamentary panel.

He said since he was called by the panel as a witness, he would not like to give out the details of what he had said in front of the committee.

The 47-year-old actor, who is known for taking social causes to the masses through his films, was invited to discuss issues like doctors taking monetary cuts and other unethical medical practices spotlighted on an episode of his TV show.

While presenting the confidential report on medical issues to the committee, Aamir reportedly argued for allowing higher FDI in the pharmaceutical industry and also discussed price control.

Replying to questions on his support for generic medicines, Khan said certain “interested parties” have questioned the quality and “power” of such drugs but that was not maintainable.

“The regulatory body checks every drug before it is sold. Be it patented or non-patented, branded or unbranded,” he said.

Asked that some doctors and experts were questioning his authority to comment on the issue, he said his stand was the result of a “thorough research” on the subject.

“The main motive of big companies is to earn more. We understand that. The issue here is how the poor get cheap medicine...they will benefit if they sell cheap drugs. Bulk sales will lower the profit margins, but profit will remain. It is a win-win situation for all,” Khan said.

The actor had exposed malpractices in the medical sector on his TV show. He discussed issues like doctors taking monetary cuts and other unethical medical practices, which prompted an umbrella body of doctors’ associations to ask him for an apology.

Aamir had later refused to apologise to the doctors, and said he was willing to face any legal action taken by them.

Khan said he was happy to be part of the committee meet and to have given inputs to formulate a better system. He also appreciated the governments of Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan for their efforts in providing quality health care to the civilians of their respective states.

He said other states should follow the example of Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu which are distributing free generic medicines to the poor after buying them at comparatively lower rates from companies.

Addressing the media Shanta Kumar was of the opinion that the meeting with Aamir would bear fruits. He also pointed out that in an effort to bring FDI in retail, a foreign chain had spent Rs 60 crore in liaisoning.

Kumar rejected suggestions that the actor’s appearance was more of a “publicity stunt” and said anyone with an interest in the subject was free to depose before parliamentary panels.





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